Advocacy

The Lake Erie Foundation and its members, over 500 strong, are the strongest and most effective voices that exist for protecting and restoring Lake Erie and its rivers and streams. We work at local, state and federal levels for effective laws and regulations that will reduce pollution, restore vital natural systems like coastal wetlands, and encourage smart growth in our communities.

The LEF acts as a watchdog to elevate good practices for healing our waterways, while being vigilant about projects that could degrade water quality. The LEF often submit comments to governing bodies regarding agricultural practices, nutrient reduction strategies, fisheries management, wastewater management issues, and more. The LEF is a well-respected resource on environmental issues that impact Lake Erie, its rivers, and streams.

Accomplishments

Ohio

The LEF, through Lake Erie Waterkeeper and the Lake Erie Improvement Association, helped to initiate the Healthy Lake Erie Fund and other funding that benefits Lake Erie. LEF was a leader in getting about 50% of the phosphorus reduced at the Detroit Wastewater Plant(which has been about 5% of the phosphorus going into Lake Erie). LEF works with businesses, chambers of commerce, civic organizations like Rotary, conservation partners, legislators and other stakeholders to ensure draft legislation provides critical clean water protections and meets the needs of local governments. LEF members were leaders in advocating for the development of legislation to ban manure applications on frozen ground and fertilizer certifications.

The LEF is a leader in working for Ohio to declare the western basin of Lake Erie impaired so that sources and amounts of nutrient runoff will be determined followed by an accountable, reportable plan to achieve the estimated 40% nutrient reduction needed to reduce the harmful algae in Lake Erie. The impairment, sources, and plan follow the Clean Water Act requirements. LEF is also advocating for increased assessment of the central basin nutrient loads and drinking water intakes.

Michigan

The LEF, through the Lake Erie Waterkeeper and Lake Erie Improvement Association, were leaders in getting phosphorus discharges from the Detroit Wastewater Treatment Plant reduced by over half. The Detroit plant is one of the largest in the United States and is estimated to contribute about 5% of the phosphorus to Lake Erie.

The LEF supports Michigan’s declaration of its Lake Erie open waters as impaired. We are concerned about Michigan’s sole focus on wastewater plants and the lack of determining the sources and monitoring for dissolved phosphorus.

Pennsylvania, New York

Work in the eastern basin of Lake Erie to address cladophora and other water quality challenges is coming.

Ontario

Work in Ontario is dependent on recruiting members and advisors to assist with Ontario and Canadian laws, etc. The LEF would love to work more closely with our Canadian colleagues to advance Lake Erie restoration efforts!

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