Great Lakes

Updated: 2:10 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020

The Ashtabula River is on its way to being removed from a list of areas of concern for environmental degradation, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler said Wednesday during a visit to Cleveland for an update on Lake Erie and the surrounding watershed.

“We are within sight of the finish line in terms of returning Ohio’s rivers to health again so they can again become a place where people can swim, play, catch fish, and generally enjoy what this great state has to offer,” Wheeler said.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler concluded his tour of Northern Ohio Tuesday with visits to Akron and Cleveland and announcing more than $2 million in federal grants.

Akron will receive more than $1 million for the Gorge Dam removal project as part of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

Algae blooms on the coast of Toledo.
NASA Glenn Research Center

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts this summer’s harmful algal bloom in Lake Erie will measure between 4-5.5 on its severity scale – lower than 2019 levels, but still above the federal agency’s goal.

Erosion problems are deepening along the Lake Erie shoreline in Geneva-on-the-Lake, affecting both private and public property. Public infrastructure could be under threat and officials are developing plans to combat the land loss in the most problematic areas.

Village officials met with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources last week to inspect areas around Geneva’s Township Park, which has lost more than 45 feet of shoreline in some areas.

The rate of erosion has been inconsistent, said Mayor Dwayne Bennett, Sr.

Algae blooms on the coast of Toledo.
NASA Glenn Research Center

Reducing harmful algal blooms remains the top priority for protecting and restoring Lake Erie, according to a draft plan released by the Ohio Lake Erie Commission.

Lake Erie advocates are hoping a proposed U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project in Illinois will block invasive carp species from entering the Great Lakes — but they’re watching to see how officials will pay for it.

Representatives of several Great Lakes and environmental groups met Sept. 4 in Perry to talk with Rep. Dave Joyce (R-Ohio) about protecting the lake.

"Water, water everywhere." That line from poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge could be the mantra for rain-weary residents across the country. Some regions have seen record amounts of rain since early spring. The Mississippi River and tributaries spent months above flood stage, while all of the Great Lakes are nearly at or above historic highs.

Keith Kompoltowicz, chief of watershed hydrology for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Detroit, says data show that the Great Lakes have been on the rise for several years, especially in recent months.

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Invasive Asian Carp may pose a greater threat to the Great Lakes than previously feared, according to a new report from the University of Michigan.

Algae floats in the water at the Maumee Bay State Park marina in Lake Erie in Oregon, Ohio, on Sept. 15, 2017.
Paul Sancya / AP

Heavy rains that inundated the Great Lakes region this spring will fuel another massive algae bloom across parts of western Lake Erie later this summer, researchers said Thursday.

Managers of the Port of Cleveland and other ports around the Great Lakes say they’re being overlooked in the national conversation about America’s crumbling infrastructure. 

On the heels of the nation’s seventh annual Infrastructure Week, the Port of Cleveland hosted a May 20 roundtable with port officials, maritime industry leaders and representatives of several Northeast Ohio Congressional members to talk about their needs. Port officials say it’s partly a problem of perception.  

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is finalizing plans for the next phase of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. The effort began in 2010 and has funded more than 4,000 improvement projects totaling $2.4 billion.

The next phase is set to begin in September and be carried out over the next five years. It’s moving forward despite President Trump’s initial plan to de-fund it.  

Lawmakers fought to have funding restored, but Senator Sherrod Brown said the president’s view of the project is a concern.

Lake Erie water levels currently measure 11 inches higher than last May and areas along the North Coast are already starting to see an impact, according to Chris Winslow, director of the Ohio Sea Grant College Program.

The steady spring rainfall has been a factor, Winslow says, but most of Lake Erie's water comes from the upper Great Lakes.

A Rising Lake Erie Causes Floods Along Ohio Shoreline

May 14, 2019
Elizabeth Miller / Ideastream

Floodwaters spilling over western Lake Erie's shoreline have swamped streets, shut down ferries and left behind dangerous debris during the past month. Now residents are bracing for more problems.

A docked boat is reflected in the algae-covered water of Lake Erie's Maumee Bay in Oregon, Ohio in this Sept. 15, 2017, file photo.
Paul Sancya / Associated Press

As Congress looks over President Donald Trump’s budget, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) is criticizing the administration for proposing a 90 percent cut to Great Lakes restoration funds.

Next Tuesday, Feb. 26, the residents of Toledo will have the chance to vote on an unusual (some might even say radical) proposal: whether to give the fourth largest lake in the United States its own Bill of Rights. If the ballot measure passes, it would be a win for the small but growing “rights of nature” movement, which aims to deter activities that pollute the environment by granting legal rights to ecosystems.

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