The Ohio Lake Erie Commission has announced three new Lake Erie Protection Fund grants that will support research at two universities.
Heidelberg University will receive two grants for its National Center for Water Quality Research. Both will help fund efforts to gather data on nutrient loading into Lake Erie through its tributaries.
A grant for $120,000 will fund four monitoring stations operated by Heidelberg, including ones on the Sandusky and Cuyahoga rivers, for 2011. Maumee and Tiffin river stations will also be partially funded. The grants will help the university continue to collect comprehensive monitoring of sediment and nutrients passing through the rivers during 2011.
Heidelberg’s National Center for Water Quality Research is responsible for delivering such reports as the one released this past summer that stated that the Maumee and Sandusky rivers had experienced some of the highest-ever phosphorus levels, which could be part of the reason Lake Erie experienced such severe blue-green algal blooms.
The data collected could help to develop solutions to Lake Erie’s algae problems, the commission stated.
The second grant to Heidelberg, for $15,000, will support formation of an advisory group for the Heidelberg Tributary Loading Program, which will aim to secure long-term funding for the university’s monitoring program. Establishing stable funding has been an issue in the past, according to the commission. The program will also help prioritize and scale monitoring components based on available funding.
Cleveland State University was awarded $34,983 to continue assistance with the Best Local Land Use Practices portion of the Balanced Growth Program. This project develops recommended land use practices to protect water quality. The project also provides support for local governments that wish to assure quality development practices to reduce stormwater runoff, provide efficient water, sewer and roads while protecting the landscape that is essential to maintaining and improving water quality, according to the commission’s press release.
The Lake Erie Protection Fund is supported by Ohioans through the purchase of special license plates that read “Erie…Our Great Lake” Fifteen dollars from the sale or renewal of each plate goes to the fund.
“Ohioans have donated more than $9.3 million to the Lake Erie Protection Fund by purchasing or renewing a Lake Erie license plate each year,” said Ed Hammett, executive director of the Ohio Lake Erie Commission. “Lake Erie license plates displayed on vehicles give Ohio’s citizens an opportunity to personally help preserve and protect Lake Erie.”
Two Northern Universities Benefit from Lake Erie License Plate Funding [WaterWorld] Image Credit: Courtesy of Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC