Great Lakes News

Great Lakes News

Lake Erie Listed as Impaired for First Time


For the first time, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and Michigan Governor Rick Snyder have listed Lake Erie as impaired under the federal Clean Water Act. The DEQ labeled Lake Erie's open waters as impaired in its annual report to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The “impaired” designation opens the door for national expertise and funding to catalyze state and regional efforts to fix the harmful algal bloom problem that plagues Lake Erie. The move has been lauded by a number of environmental conservation groups, such as the Alliance for the Great Lakes, the National Wildlife Federation, the Ohio Environmental Council, the Michigan League of Conservation Voters and Freshwater Future.

“Last year’s algae bloom was the largest ever recorded in Lake Erie,” says Lisa Wozniak, the executive director of Michigan League of Conservation Voters. “The Michigan League of Conservation Voters looks forward to working with the DEQ to develop new and innovative strategies to solve this chronic problem that continues to threaten the health of the thousands of Michiganders who depend on Lake Erie for their drinking water."

Environmentalists are now urging Ohio to join the effort and list Lake Erie waters as impaired as well.

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[Photo from NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory/Flickr]