Research, Education, and Outreach Efforts on Critical Lake Erie Issues

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Presentation at the Lake Erie Management Plan Public Forum held in March 2010.

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Research, Education, and Outreach Efforts on Critical Lake Erie Issues

  1. 1. Ohio Sea Grant College Program Ohio Sea Grant and Stone Lab’s Research, Education, and Outreach Efforts on Critical Lake Erie Issues Dr. Jeffrey M. Reutter, Director Lake Erie LaMP Public Forum, LaSalle, Michigan 12 March 2010 Jeffrey M. Reutter, Director
  2. 2. Ohio Sea Grant College Program Most Important Lake In the World? • “Its our lake. I see it every day. It can’t be the most important lake in the world.” • Dead lake image of 60s and 70s. • Poster child for pollution problems in this country. • But, most heavily utilized of any of the Great Lakes. • Shared by 4 states and 2 countries. • Best example of ecosystem recovery in world. 2
  3. 3. Ohio Sea Grant College Program Blue-green Algae Bloom circa 1970, Lake Erie 3
  4. 4. Ohio Sea Grant College Program “I heard Lake Erie is the place fish go to die.” --Johnny Carson, 1976 4
  5. 5. Ohio Sea Grant College Program Today’s Talk • Who we are • What we do • Some current research, education, and outreach efforts • Lake Erie 101 • Lake Erie’s most important issues 5
  6. 6. Ohio Sea Grant College Program Ohio Sea Grant College Program 1895—F.T. Stone Laboratory 1970—Center for Lake Erie Area Research (CLEAR) 1978—Ohio Sea Grant College Program 1992—Great Lakes Aquatic Ecosystem Research Consortium (GLAERC) 6
  7. 7. Ohio Sea Grant College Program General Sea Grant •Part of National Sea Grant •Focus on 3 E’s: Collge Program in NOAA + Environment •32 programs every coastal + Economy state + Education •Partnership of: •Accomplish through: + Government + Research + Academia + Education + Private Sector + Outreach 7
  8. 8. Stone Laboratory: OhioGrant College Program Ohio Sea State’s Island Campus What is Stone Lab? • Oldest freshwater field station in the nation, and • Ohio’s Lake Erie Lab since 1895 • Island campus of OSU on Gibraltar Island, Lake Erie • Research, education, and outreach laboratory 8 • A whole lot of fun!
  9. 9. Ohio Sea Grant College Program Program Goals and Objectives: • Improve science education, link research scientists and managers, improve management decisions, facilitate the development of collaborative research projects to address management needs, enhance public understanding of Great Lakes issues. • Solve problems, prevent them from happening, minimize their impact, protect human health, and maximize the value of Lake Erie. • Support the LaMP and the CSMI. 9
  10. 10. Ohio Sea Grant College Program Institutional Setting E. Gordon Gee President Carol Whitacre Bobby D. Moser Senior Vice President Vice President for Agricultural For Research Administration and University Outreach Jeffrey M. Reutter Director, Ohio Sea Grant College Program Center for Lake Erie Great Lakes Aquatic Area Research Ecosystem Research Consortium F.T. Stone Laboratory (CLEAR) (GLAERC) Columbus Office 10 10
  11. 11. Ohio Sea Grant College Program Accomplishments-1 • SG—Over 420 projects, 450 grad students, 250+ investigators, 19 colleges and univ. • 18 endowments at Stone Lab • FOSL--Supported over 1000 scholarships and REUs at Stone Lab since 1983 • Over 100,000 students of all ages at Stone Lab since 1990 • 225 partnerships including Lake Erie Partnership • Lake Erie Literacy Principles • Participated in rebirth of Lake Erie 11
  12. 12. Ohio Sea Grant College Program Accomplishments-2 • Outreach--11.7 million hits/year on website • Over 300 articles/year about our work in media • 12 Ohio Sea Grant communication and extension specialists + Artificial Reefs—10 including 3 from old Cleve Municipal Stadium + State Legislature/Congressional Day—since 1982 + Clean Marina Program—shrink wrap (1 million lbs.)—5 more states + Mentor Lagoons and Big Island Wetland + Tourism—marketing Lake Erie • Walleye capital of the World • Top 10 fishing spots in world • Coastal property values and turbidity 12 • Shipwrecks and scuba diving • Lake Erie Discussion Bd—80,000 hits/month
  13. 13. Ohio Sea Grant College Program Current Work—1 • Leadership for LEMN, GLRRIN, CGLRM • Some current research projects + Sonication to remove PAH’s from sediment + Ecological impact of nanoparticles + Economic impact of birding + Leveraging natural amenities for sustainable development + Development of a high-resolution nearshore model for LE + New molecular test for active VHS infection in fish + Environmental tolerance of type A influenza virus isolated from waterfowl + Role of sediment in controlling the fate and toxicity of microcystin 13
  14. 14. Ohio Sea Grant College Program Current Work—2 • Understanding P and N limitation • Phosphonate utilization by algae • P, Microcystis, and sediment in NW Ohio, Maumee and Sandusky Rivers, and W to E Basins—4 projects (GLNPO, LEPF, Sea Grant, GLPF) • Agriculture impacts on P loading—3 projects (GLNPO, LEPF, GLPF) • Much is coordinated through GLRRIN and LEMN 14
  15. 15. Ohio Sea Grant College Program Current Work—3 • Emerald Ash Borer • Lake Erie Watersnakes • Avian studies • Dead Zone • Aging gizzard shad and whitefish • Ottolith studies • Lots more 15
  16. 16. Ohio Sea Grant College Program Gibraltar Island Village of Put-in-Bay On South Bass Island 16
  17. 17. Ohio Sea Grant College Program 17
  18. 18. Stone Laboratory: College Program Ohio Sea Grant Ohio’s Lake Erie Laboratory Since 1895 18
  19. 19. Stone Laboratory: OhioGrant College Program Ohio Sea State’s Island Campus Campus • Bayview Office • Dining Hall • Harborview House 19
  20. 20. Ohio Sea Grant College Program Stone Cottage 20
  21. 21. Ohio Sea Grant College Program Improving Science Education in Ohio: Stone Laboratory Story Education for all ages + Field trips grades 4-adult + Intro courses open to superior HS students + Upper level courses for grad students + Teacher courses Since 1990: + Students from • 107 colleges 21 • 360 high schools
  22. 22. Ohio Sea Grant College Program Opportunities: • Courses—All ages • Teaching • Conferences • Workshops and field trips • Research • REUs • Visiting scientists • Guest lectures and open houses • Outreach and non-formal education • Volunteer work weekends 22
  23. 23. Ohio Sea Grant College Program Students Learn by Doing Tell me, I forget. Show me, I remember. Involve me, I understand. --Benjamin Franklin 23
  24. 24. Ohio Sea Grant College Program Typical classroom; Not more than 16 students 24
  25. 25. Ohio Sea Grant College Program Students Pulling in trawl On stern of BioLab 25
  26. 26. Ohio Sea Grant College Program Entomology Class in Field 26
  27. 27. Field Zoology at Ohio Sea Grant College Program Old Woman Creek 27
  28. 28. Glacial Grooves at KelleysOhio Sea Grant College Program Island 28
  29. 29. Ohio Sea Grant College Program Primary Workshop Season for Schools 29
  30. 30. Ohio Sea Grant College Program Science Cruise Jeffrey M. Reutter, Director
  31. 31. Ohio Sea Grant College Program Trawling for Fish 31
  32. 32. Ohio Sea Grant College Program 32
  33. 33. Ohio Sea Grant College Program Examining Plankton Sample 33
  34. 34. Ohio Sea Grant College Program 34
  35. 35. Ohio Sea Grant College Program On Line Discussion Board • Lake Erie Discussion Board • Outreach tool for Lake Erie fishing Qs • Top program web page • Input: free software, time of extension staff • Growth • 2005: 11,000 hits/month • 2008: 70,000 hits/month 35
  36. 36. Ohio Sea Grant College Program How do I get involved? • Friends of Stone Lab (FOSL) 36
  37. 37. Ohio Sea Grant College Program 37
  38. 38. Ohio Sea Grant College Program 38
  39. 39. Ohio Sea Grant College Program 39
  40. 40. Lake Erie Cross Section Ohio Sea Grant College Program 40
  41. 41. Ohio Sea Grant College Program 80:10:10 Rule 80% of water from upper lakes 10% from Lake Erie Tributaries 10% direct precipitation 41
  42. 42. Ohio Sea Grant College Program Great Lakes Lake Superior: Most Water Lake Huron: Longest shoreline Lake Michigan: Largest US population Lake Erie: Most productive and most fish— smallest volume Lake Ontario: Largest Canadian population— smallest area 42
  43. 43. Ohio Sea Grant College Program Most agriculture of the Great Lakes. 43
  44. 44. Ohio Sea Grant College Program 44
  45. 45. Ohio Sea Grant College Program As a Result, Lake Erie Gets: More sediment More nutrients (fertilizers and sewage) More pesticides (The above 3 items are exacerbated by storms, which will be more frequent and severe due to global warming and climate change.) And is still biologically, the most productive of the Great Lakes 45
  46. 46. Ohio Sea Grant College Program 50:2 Rule (Not exact, but instructive) Lake Superior: 50% of the water and 2% of the fish Lake Erie: 2% of the water and 50% of the fish 46
  47. 47. Ohio Sea Grant College Program 47
  48. 48. Ohio Sea Grant College Program Lake Erie Stats Drinking water for 11 million people Over 20 power plants 300 marinas in Ohio alone Walleye Capital of the World 40% of all Great Lakes charter boats $1 billion sport fishery One of top 10 sport fishing locations in the world One of the largest freshwater commercial fisheries in the world 48
  49. 49. Ohio Sea Grant College Program Lake Erie’s Biggest Problems + Sedimentation/Water Clarity/Dredging + Nutrients and Phosphorus + HABs—Harmful Algal Blooms + Dead Zone + AIS—Aquatic Invasive Species + Climate Change/Lake Levels/Severe Storms 49
  50. 50. Ohio Sea Grant College Program Sediment Entering Lake Erie—4/2/08 50 50
  51. 51. Ohio Sea Grant College Program Impacts of Sedimentation Water quality is reduced Nutrients and contaminants enter the Lake attached to sediment particles Can trace Maumee River sediments over Niagara Falls within one year Maumee River is largest single source— should not allow open lake disposal where it is guaranteed to resuspend 51
  52. 52. Ohio Sea Grant College Program Why does Lake Erie get the most sediment? Because it has the most agriculture in its basin. Maumee River brings more sediment into Lake Erie than all tributaries carry into Lake Superior, and Lake Superior is 20 times larger in volume than Lake Erie. 52
  53. 53. Ohio Sea Grant College Program Nutrients and Phosphorus 53
  54. 54. Ohio Sea Grant College Program Why does Lake Erie get most nutrients? • Because it has the most agriculture in its basin. • Few forests • Wetlands gone • Large human population—water treatment, septic tanks, sewage treatment (or lack thereof) 54
  55. 55. Dissolved Reactive Phosphorus Ohio Sea Grant College Program Maumee Cuyahoga 0.8 0.9 0.4 0.4 0.0 -0.1 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 Sandusky Grand 0.6 0.3 0.2 0.0 -0.2 -0.3 55 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 Source: P. Richards, Heidelberg College
  56. 56. Ohio Sea Grant College Program Impacts of Increased Phosphorus Concentrations HABs + Microcystis + Microcystin levels 60 times WHO + Cylindrospermopsis Nuisance Algae Blooms + Lyngbya—Western Basin Attached 56 + Cladophora—Whole Lake Attached Dead Zone
  57. 57. Ohio Sea Grant College Program HABs (Harmful Algal Blooms): Western Basin Problem (I used to say this, but it is no longer true.) 57
  58. 58. Ohio Sea Grant College Program 58
  59. 59. Ohio Sea Grant College Program 59
  60. 60. Ohio Sea Grant College Program 60 60
  61. 61. Ohio Sea Grant College Program 61 61
  62. 62. Ohio Sea Grant College Program HAB Requirements Warm water (summer problem) High phosphorus levels (and now high nitrogen) Zebra/quagga mussels (remove competition) 62
  63. 63. Ohio Sea Grant College Program HABs: Western Basin Problem But Contribute to Oxygen Demand in the Central Basin, i.e. the Dead Zone 63
  64. 64. Ohio Sea Grant College Program Dead Zone: Central Basin Problem 64
  65. 65. Lake Erie Cross Section Ohio Sea Grant College Program 65
  66. 66. Ohio Sea Grant College Program Central Basin with Thermocline 66
  67. 67. Ohio Sea Grant College Program Wind Tilting Thermocline 67
  68. 68. Ohio Sea Grant College Program Nutrients and organic material in sewer discharges and CSOs contribute directly to HABs and the Dead Zone, but it is highly likely that non-point loading from agriculture is the predominant factor! 68
  69. 69. Ohio Sea Grant College Program Efforts to prevent/reduce CSOs will improve the Dead Zone and reduce beach closings! 69
  70. 70. Ohio Sea Grant College Program AIS Over 180 species in Great Lakes 75% since Seaway opened Zebra and quagga mussels Phragmites and loosestrife Round gobies Next?—Silver Carp?? How do we close the door? 70
  71. 71. Ohio Sea Grant College Program Because Lake Erie is the southernmost, shallowest, warmest, and most nutrient- enriched of the Great Lakes, it is likely that AIS will always present the greatest problem, and have the greatest impact, in Lake Erie. 71
  72. 72. Ohio Sea Grant College Program Climate change is real and will make these problems worse! • Warm water favors HABs • Warm water increases oxygen depletion rates • More severe storms will resuspend more sediment and increase erosion and sediment loading • Lake levels uncertain 72
  73. 73. Ohio Sea Grant College Program Power Production Impacts No Free Lunch Wind + Bird Mortality Coal or Nuclear + Cooling water impacts on fish + Mining impacts + Air pollution impacts 73 + Volume of material—fuel and waste
  74. 74. Ohio Sea Grant College Program Fish Impingement at Power Plants 900 20 800 18 Millions of Fish Impinged /Year 700 16 600 MWe (mean) 14 500 12 400 10 300 8 200 6 100 4 0 2 Energy Output 0 Fish Impingement Acme Bayshore Davis-Bessie 74
  75. 75. Ohio Sea Grant College Program The Forecast: Increased sedimentation—lower water clarity (also means reduced coastal property values) Lower Lake Levels More nutrients—algal mats, flies, HABs and toxins AIS—new one every 8 months Dead Zone—bigger and longer lasting Water treatment costs will increase Lake Erie will continue to be the most 75 important lake in the world
  76. 76. Ohio Sea Grant College Program Reasonable Goals + Elimination of beach closures and water quality improvements • CSO reductions will help • Everything else will likely be worse for Water Quality + Elimination of Dead Zone • Important to drinking water quality • May not be possible + Elimination of HABs • Very important to human health • Can be achieved 76 • Will also improve Dead Zone and beaches
  77. 77. Ohio Sea Grant College Program What Can You Do? I Don’t wait for someone else to solve the problem. Be part of the solution. Join and support local environmental organizations, e.g. • Friends of Stone Laboratory • Bioneers • Cleveland Museum of Natural History • Cleveland Botanical Garden • Lake Erie Nature and Science Center • Great Lakes Science Center • A watershed protection group 77 • A Remedial Action Plan (RAP)
  78. 78. Ohio Sea Grant College Program What Can You Do? II Support improvements to public sewer systems that eliminate CSOs—your rates will increase! Reduce runoff from your property Reduce your carbon footprint Reduce your water and electrical usage Follow guidelines to prevent introduction of AIS Become a “Clean Boater” Dock your boat at a certified “Clean Marina” 78
  79. 79. Ohio Sea Grant College Program What Can You Do? III Make sure your septic tank is working properly Be vocal and tell your elected officials to support environmental programs Volunteer for beach and shoreline cleanups Help protect and restore wetlands Use buffer strips on your farm 79
  80. 80. Ohio Sea Grant College Program For more information Dr. Jeff Reutter, Director Ohio Sea Grant and Stone Laboratory Stone Lab Ohio State Univ. Ohio State Univ. Box 119 1314 Kinnear Rd. Put-in-Bay, O 43456 Col, Oh 43212 614-247-6500 614-292-8949 Reutter.1@osu.edu www.ohioseagrant.os u.edu/ 80
  81. 81. Ohio Sea Grant College Program Results and Key Points from Discussion—1 • Managers should focus on bioavailable P, not total P • P limitation of algae may be decreasing • High N levels may be pushing algae away from Anabaena and Aphanizomenon and toward Microcys. • Implications + Algae is N limited + P loading has gone up so much that it is no longer limiting + REDUCING P LOADS SHOULD STILL BE GOAL!! 81
  82. 82. Ohio Sea Grant College Program Results and Key Points from Discussion—2 • Increased turbidity from Maumee River sediment is advantageous to harmful algal blooms (Microcystis sp.) • Microcystis is found in sediment prior to bloom and sediments may be acting as a source • Microcystis concentrations were highest in Aug., but found as early as April • Lyngbya concentrations highest in June – Aug and at 2-4 m depths • Many forms of Microcystis—not always producing toxin 82
  83. 83. Ohio Sea Grant College Program Results and Key Points from Discussion—3 • Stratification of P in soil samples is important • Direct runoff of surface applied P is a factor • In the CB and EB and looking from nearshore to offshore: P concentrations go down, we are P-limited, and there may be more P in sediment of CB than WB • STP is a good indicator of P transport risk • Phosphonate can be used by algae • Changes in STP in last decade: + Input and output balanced in Ohio + STP levels have remained steady or gone down in most counties + Mercer County with many CAFO’s is a notable exception 83

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