About Lake Erie Improvement Association

Lake Erie – a Great Lake to enjoy and help.

The purpose of the Lake Erie Improvement Association is simply to promote Lake Erie while fixing the algae problems and helping to have a sustainable lake. Together we can make a difference.

The idea for this organization comes from Grand Lake St. Marys, Ohio’s largest inland lake that hit a low in 2010 with warnings not to boat or recreate in the lake because of toxic algae. Rather than pointing fingers, the businesses and residents came together with elected and administrative officials to help the lake. They developed a plan and conducted an economic analysis of what the lake means to the area economy. They hold open meetings and seek solutions. Solutions have come from both government and private businesses. There were about 75 business proposals that were sent to Battelle for evaluation and they selected 6 for cost and effectiveness. They have raised over $500,000 to help the lake and in 2011, unlike Lake Erie, the lake was better than in 2010.

Funds collected by the Lake Erie Improvement Association (LEIA) will be spent to help Lake Erie. A commission of LEIA members will lead this decision making process with input welcome from all members.

The next meeting is on Wednesday, March 14th, at the Lake Erie Islands Tourism Center in Port Clinton on Rt. 53 at 8:30 a.m.

Commission Members

President, Jim Stouffer

Catawba Island Club, is a private club located on Lake Erie’s Ohio Shore established in 1928 as  a family ‘outdoors’ club for the Catawba Cliffs community developed by the J.H. Bellows Company.  Contact: jimstouffer@cicclub.com,  jack@cicclub.com.


Vice President, Sandy Bihn

Works as Lake Erie Waterkeeper and is President of the Toledo Harbor Lighthouse Preservation Society.  She is also an Oregon City Council member and lives on Maumee Bay next to Maumee Bay State Park. She also serves on the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Coastal Advisory Committee and on an Ohio Sea Grant Advisory Committee.  She serves on:  Duck Otter Creek Partnership, Great Lakes Restoration Collaborative, Great Lakes and Western Lake Erie Sierra Club.   She is the former Director of Finance for the City of Oregon and holds a Master of Business Administration from the University of Toledo with a major in Finance. Contact sandylakeerie@aol.com.


Secretary, Ron Wyss

A Harding County Commissioner, member of the Ohio Agricultural Task Force and Ohio Phosphorous Task Force.  Lifelong farmer.  Contact wyssr@mac.com


Treasurer, Captain Don Lowther

A licensed full time Charter Captain for the past 30 years, Don received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Bowling Green State University and has been an accountant for various businesses over many years.  In addition, he has been Treasurer of Lake Erie Charter Boat Association since 2004.  Captain Don was named the 2012 Charter Boat Captain of the Year by Lake Erie Charter Boat Association in conjunction with Ohio DNR and Ohio SeaGrant. Contact osprey@buckeye-express.com


At Large, Dave Spangler

Contact: dave.spangler1021@gmail.com


At Large, Becky Simpson

Ottawa County Soil and Water Conservation District. Contact: becky.simpson@ottawaswcd.com


At Large, Kristy Meyer

Ohio Environmental Council, kristy@theoec.org


At Large, Paul Pacholski

I have been a professional full-time captain and fishing guide on Lake Erie for the past 27 years and the love of this lake has made me passionate about its health and well-being.  He is a board member of the Lake Erie Waterkeepers and Vice-President in charge of Environmental Issues with the Lake Erie Charter Boat Association.  He works extensively with colleges on ecological studies and with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources on water quality and fish management issues and is also a member of the advisory board for Ohio SeaGrant. In recognition of my deep commitment to Lake Erie, he was named the Lake Erie Charter Captain of the Year in 2010 by the Lake Erie Charter Boat Association in conjunction with the Ohio DNR and Ohio SeaGrant. He has been a featured guide for 8 years on John Gillespie’s Woods & Water’s television program and I’ve been the winner of numerous Lake Erie walleye tournaments.  He has also been featured in articles concerning Lake Erie fishing and environmental issues in The Toledo Blade, the Columbus Dispatch, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Cincinnati Post and interviewed by ESPN and National Public Radio. Lake Erie is one of the most valuable treasures in the world and I feel that it’s everyone’s duty to protect and preserve this greatest of the Great Lakes Contact: captpaul@accesstoledo.com


At Large, John Hull

John Hull is the founder and Chairman of Hull with more than 30 years of experience with a wide variety of engineering and environmental issues.  He serves on public committees, advises clients on complicated challenges, provides strategic planning experience to current staff, and assists Hull’s clients achieve environmentally protective and cost-effective solutions.John is a registered Professional Engineer in 13 states and is recognized as a Board Certified Environmental Engineer by the American Academy of Environmental Engineers.  In addition to being Principal and Director of Hull, John currently serves as President of AquaBlok, Ltd., an environmental products company.  He serves on the Petroleum Underground Storage Tank Compensation Board (PUSTCB), a position he has held for four terms, having been appointed by former Governors Voinovich and Taft, Strickland, and Kasich.  John also serves on the Board of Directors for the Partners for Clean Streams; the University of Findlay’s Center for Environment Excellence National Advisory Board; the University of Toledo’s Department of Earth, Ecological and Environmental Sciences Advisory Group; and the Lake Erie Commission Ohio Balanced Growth Initiative’s Technical Advisory Committee. Contact jhull@hullinc.com