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News Release
September 5, 2003


CLEVELAND, OH -- The Ohio Lake Erie Commission (OLEC) has awarded more than $375,000 to six organizations to conduct long-term research projects on the lake. Nearly $30,000 more went to three other organizations for short-term research projects.

The grants were approved on September 4 at the commission's meeting in Cleveland. Larger projects that received funding were: a nature-based field guide and survey of the Lake Erie Islands; efforts to inspect 4,000 home sewage systems in Cuyahoga County; a Clean Boater Program for the Lake Erie region; water quality monitoring on Maumee Bay; an pilot beach advisory system for Huntington Beach and an initiative to reduce soil erosion among Lake Erie watershed farmers. Smaller grants were awarded to study yellow perch reproduction in the lake and PCBs in the Ashtabula River. Another project will look at ways of reducing sediment loading in the lake through improved drainage ditch regulations.

During the last 10 years, the commission has awarded more than $7.5 million in grants from its Lake Erie Protection Fund to local and state organizations for a variety of lake-based research projects. Money for the fund comes from the sale of Lake Erie license plates, which feature an image of the historic Marblehead Lighthouse. The Ohio Lake Erie Commission is comprised of the directors of the Ohio departments of environmental protection, transportation, development, health, natural resources and agriculture. The commission was established to preserve Lake Erie's natural resources, water quality and ecosystem by furthering the goals laid out in the Lake Erie Protection & Restoration Plan. It also promotes economic development in the region.

Grants List

bulletLake Erie Coastal Ohio, Inc. received $29,500 to develop "The Lake Erie Islands: Nature-Based Field Guide And Survey." The project will enhance eco-tourism throughout the region by promoting tours and other activities. Project director: Melinda Huntley.
bulletCuyahoga County Board of Health received $49,080 to inspect 4,000 household sewage treatment systems throughout Cuyahoga County and educate 1,000 homeowners on their proper maintenance. Homes will be selected according to their proximity to lake tributaries. Project director: Harry Stark
bulletThe Ohio State University Research Foundation received $50,000 to develop a Clean Boater Program for Ohio, with focus on Lake Erie. The project will develop educational materials and employ other incentives for clean boating practices. Project director: Leroy J. Hushak
bulletThe University of Toledo, Lake Erie Center received $55,391 to monitor water quality in Maumee Bay and western Lake Erie. Monitoring will help document the influence of the Maumee River on water quality, bacteria spikes and zooplankton species. Project director: Thomas Bridgeman
bulletU.S. Geological Survey received $93,871 to implement a system for "nowcasting" bacteria levels and beach advisories for Huntington Beach and compare to current methods of determining water quality. The project will develop models for Lakeview and Century Beaches for an Internet-based beach advisory program. Project director: Donna Francy
bulletConservation Action Project received $97,640 to reduce soil erosion and implement innovative farming practices, using 25 area farms. Farmers will be selected to demonstrate practices that reduce soil compaction and erosion. Field days will be held to showcase the new technologies. Project director: William Rohrs
bulletThe Ohio State University Research Foundation received $9,986 to evaluate the quality of yellow perch eggs in Lake Erie. Project director: Dr. Knorad Dabrowski
bulletThe Ohio State University Research Foundation received $9,993 to investigate the release of PCBs during dewatering of Ashtabula River sediments. Project directors: Patrick J. Fox and John L. Lenhart
bulletThe Ohio State University Research Foundation received $10,000 to reduce sediment loading in Lake Erie by revising drainage ditch regulations in the lake's watershed. Director: Dr. Larry Libby
For additional news online, check out the ODNR Press Room at
For Further Information Contact:
Jill Woodyard, Ohio Lake Erie Commission
(419) 245-2514
Jane Beathard, ODNR Media Relations
(614) 265-6860




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