Conference to "Hack" Lake Erie for Solutions

Lake Erie (photo: Elizabeth Miller)
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By Elizabeth Miller

A new conference coming to Cleveland will offer a chance to “hack” Lake Erie for innovations and resolutions to the lake’s issues and problems. 

This will be the first time a Great Lake will be “hacked” for ideas.  The idea is based on a Canadian conference that wrapped up its 2nd annual conference last week.   The Cleveland Water Alliance is planning a 2-day conference for 2017, where finalists will present their ideas to restore Lake Erie for a chance at some cash to bring the project to life.

The Alliance’s executive director, Bryan Stubbs, says Canada’s conference featured political leaders, something he’d like to bring to Cleveland’s event.

“Our challenge is going to be how do we bring in Mayor Jackson, how do we bring in Mayor of Toledo, Governor of Michigan, Governor of New York,” said Stubbs.  “These are the sort of people we want to bring in to say, ‘let’s put innovation to work for our water system’”.

A call for applications and ideas goes out later this month.

“We’re going from city to city bringing all the water quality folks, bringing technology folks, bringing entrepreneurs together to identify what are the most pressing challenges and problems,” said Stubbs.

Montreal’s Aquahacking Conference has focused on the St. Lawrence Seaway and the Ottawa River in the past. Previous competition finalists include a social network for people who live near the Ottawa River and a smartphone app to report water quality issues.

6 cities in the U.S. and Canada including Buffalo, Toledo, and Detroit have signed on to the conference.  Stubbs hopes future conferences will expand to the 4 other Great Lakes.

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