Democratic U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown meets with Lake Erie Advocates

Democratic U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown at a roundtable on the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative/Afi Scruggs
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Ohio’s U.S. senators helped halt proposed funding cuts by the Trump administration, to the $300 million dollar Great Lakes Restoration Initiative earlier this month through drumming up the support of lake users

Monday Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown met with Lake Erie advocates and learned about the connection between drinking water quality and harmful algae blooms that the initiative tries to prevent. 

Summer rains send phosphorus from farmland into Lake Erie, nurturing huge fields of algae that deplete the water’s oxygen and boost its iron and manganese levels. Clevelanders will likely see the result the following year, when they turn on their faucets, said Dave Spangler, vice president of the Lake Erie Charter Boat Association.

 “Those two chemicals will tint the water and give you a different taste that you can actually taste in the water. When people who get their water see this, or smell it or taste it, they’re going to be yelling at the water treatment guys and saying, ‘Hey, there’s something wrong with the water.’ “

Speaking at the roundtable organized by Brown, Spangler said  GLRI money pays for the monitors alerting the water treatment facility to the change in quality.

Brown said the information would hlep him advocate for the GLRI in upcoming funding cycles.

“As a resident of Cleveland, I’m not sure I understood how the algae blooms in Toledo and the shallowness of the lake there affects aquatic life, as far east as Cleveland and certainly Lake and Ashtabula counties. The information they’re gathering about what the GLRI has meant to northern Ohio will be essential in winning this,” Brown said. 

The charter boat association says Ohio sport fishing is a $1.3 billion industry.

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