Recap: Healthy Lake Erie Public Forum

by Linda New

I attended the Healthy Lake Erie Fund Public Forum July 10 and found it quite an education. The forum was hosted by State Representative Randy Gardner and Senator Mark Wagner. Speakers included Chief of Soil and Water Division Karl Gebhardt, EPA Director Scott Nally and Ohio Department of Agriculture Director David Daniels.

Karl Gebhardt focused on continuing education and outreach to the agricultural community, referring to the “4 R’s”: right timing, right placement, right amount, and right sources of nutrients like phophorus and nitrogen.

Ohio EPA Director Scott Nally discussed collaborations with universities like OSU’s Stone Lab and Wright State. He pointed out that 8 billion gallons of raw sewage enters Lake Erie after an average rain storm. Nally also briefly referred to the Euclid Tunnel.

David Daniels of the Ohio Department of Agriculture mentioned the need for a healthy lake, a healthy agricultural community and more regulatory authority.

Twelve comments from attendees were taken. Issues raised included the need to stop open lake dumping by the Corps of Engineers, the urgency to begin working on pilot projects now, and the importance of data that has already been collected over the past 5-6 years by watershed district groups and volunteers. Representative Randy Gardner asked that those groups that have already collected watershed data collaborate with the Phosphorus Task Force.

Current news releases covering the Healthy Lake Erie Fund and the July 10 forum:

Toledo Blade ~ July 11, 2012 ~ $3M allocated by Ohio to fight lake’s algae blooms

Cleveland Plain Dealer ~ July 5, 2012 ~ Healthy Lake Erie Fund deserves praise: editorial

Ohio Environmental Counsel ~ June 25, 2012 ~ Advocates Counsel Wise Use of $3 Million Healthy Lake Erie Fund