Lake Erie Programs

The Division of Surface Water participates in many Lake Erie and Great Lakes-related efforts. The two main focus areas are:

  • Areas of Concern, specifically the development and implementation of Remedial Action Plans (RAPs) for the Maumee, Black, Cuyahoga and Ashtabula river areas of concern; and
  • Lake Erie, including the bi-national lakewide management plan (LaMP) for Lake Erie.

Both of these efforts are centered on reducing the loadings of pollutants and restoring all beneficial uses to these waterbodies. Both programs are described in the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement between Canada and the United States, and are mandated under the Great Lakes Critical Programs Act amendment to the Clean Water Act.

To complement these two focus areas, Ohio EPA is working on a new nearshore monitoring initiative that will provide valuable water quality data to inform management decisions and actions to restore Lake Erie and its tributary streams.

The Ohio Lake Erie Phosphorus Task Force has been reconvened. The Phase II effort will build upon the work of the original task force by incorporating current research results and developing a broader consensus on the management actions necessary to reduce algal blooms in the Lake Erie western basin. The original task force, which concluded its work in 2010, reviewed phosphorus loading data from Ohio tributaries to Lake Erie, considered possible relationships between trends in dissolved reactive phosphorus loading and inlake conditions, determined possible causes for increased soluble phosphorus loading, and evaluated possible management options for reducing soluble phosphorus loading.

The Ashtabula River Area of Concern

On May 5, 2014, Ohio EPA received notification that U.S. EPA approved our request to remove three beneficial use impairments (BUIs) at the Ashtabula Area of Concern and U.S. EPA will now formally notify the International Joint Commission of the removals. The significant restoration efforts on the Ashtabula River have yielded a much healthier river system and allowed Ohio EPA and the RAP Advisory Council to remove the BUIs concerning Restrictions on Fish Consumption, Degradation of Fish Populations and Loss of Fish Habitat. This significant milestone was achieved through the perseverance and collaborative efforts of dedicated local, state and federal partners. Ohio EPA will continue to work with our partners to remove the last three beneficial use impairments: Restrictions on Dredging, Degradation of Benthos, and Fish Tumors and Deformities.

On Oct. 20, 2014, U.S. EPA announced the award of four Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grants to protect public health by targeting harmful algal blooms in western Lake Erie.