Environmental leader applauds Michigan’s “impaired” designation for Lake Erie

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Lake Erie algae

Lake Erie algae. Image: Flickr, Ohio DNR

By Mark Bashore

This story originally appeared on Current State and is republished here with permission.

Last week, Michigan environmental officials designated the state’s tiny piece of Lake Erie an “impaired waterway.” That’s because algae blooms have become more common there and are damaging fish and other wildlife. The algae blooms are mainly the result of fertilizer runoff into the lake from farms.

Collin O'Mara. Image: NWF

Collin O’Mara. Image: NWF

In the summer of 2014, 400,000 people in the Toledo area were briefly unable to drink city water because algae had created unsafe levels of a toxin.

The “impaired” designation is important because it can lead to stronger federal action.

Current State talks with Michael Shriberg, Great Lakes regional executive director at the National Wildlife Federation in Ann Arbor.

Current State focuses on the environment every Tuesday.  Our efforts are supported by Michigan State University’s Knight Center for Environmental Journalism. For more news of the Great Lakes environment, you can check out GreatLakesEcho.org.

6 thoughts on “Environmental leader applauds Michigan’s “impaired” designation for Lake Erie

  1. Jim, Thank you so much. I was unaware of this strategy. I really appreciate you taking the time to tell me. So many people are apathetic when it comes to actually doing anything. Not you.

  2. Thank you, Joseph. I’ll read up on the ice boom. You may want to look at FLOW For Love of Water http://www.flowforwater.org for background papers and articles on public trust doctrine, as backdrop principle that limits government or private actions or inaction that impair swimming, boating, fishing, drinking water, sustenance, and the water quality and quantity these uses depend on.

  3. Jim, Thank you for connecting. I only contact people based on their profile and I think may be interested in my work or need to know about it. I’d also like to think you can help. Here is a recent article that outlines the problem nicely.http://buffalorising.com/2015/04/interview-with-joseph-barrett-and-ice-boom-theory/ (You can also Google “Joe Barrett ice boom” for more.) Basically, I wrote a paradigm shift science theory that contradicts everything the New York Power Authority has told everyone for 50+ years. They said their ice boom was harmless, The evidence proves it is killing the Lower Great Lakes ecosystem. This includes your part of the lakes. If you read up on it, you may see a way you can help using your position or skills. This is a gigantic problem that has only received local coverage. See what you think and what you can do. If not you, then who would you suggest? The stalled conveyor won’t fix itself and it’s only getting worse. I am particularly looking for a national audience story. I am also investigating producing a “Gasland” style documentary. Any ideas are greatly appreciated. I look forward to your reply. THX, JBB

  4. Yes, this designation is important, not only for federal action, but state action under Art. 4, Sec. 52, Michigan Constitution, which mandates legislature to enact laws that protect air, water, and natural resources from “impairment, pollution, or destruction.” Too, the Michigan Environmental Protection Act “The MEPA” prohibits “impairment,” in absence of showing of no alternatives, and the public trust doctrine prohibits material impairment of public trust in water. All of these provisions, and federal law, provide a backdrop for action-forcing measures to address algal blooms, invasive species, and the compounded effects from climate change. Thank you to our state leaders on this designation.

  5. Hopefully…, they Google “Joe Barrett ice boom ” and learn the truth about the real threat to the Lower Great Lakes.

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