Lake Erie Is Nearly ‘As Bad As It Gets’ According To New Report
According to a recent report, Lake Erie is in poor condition and it's not getting better. The 'State of the Great Lakes 2022' report describes the challenges Lake Erie is facing. The report says nutrient concentrations and algae blooms are causing problems in the lake, which provides habitat for wildlife, as well as drinking water, recreation, and fishing for Western New Yorkers. The United States and Canadian governments created the report,
The Governments of Canada and the United States, together with their many Agreement partners, have established a set of nine overarching indicators of ecosystem health directly linked to the General Objectives of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement and supported by 40 science-based sub-indicators.
Jill Jedlicka, Executive Director for the Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper, told WGRZ,
Lake Erie is almost as bad as it gets. We're not headed in the right direction.
What's At Stake If Lake Erie's Condition Deteriorates Even More?
Lake Erie is one of the five Great Lakes, which also includes Lake Superior, Lake Ontario, Lake Huron, and Lake Michigan.
According to the report, approximately 8.5 million Canadians and 19.5 million Americans rely on the surface waters of the Great Lakes for their drinking water. The report says that Lake Erie is classified as 'good' when it comes to drinking water.
When it comes to Lake Erie's beaches, the assessment is not quite as good as it was for drinking water. The report says that Lake Erie's beaches are 'Fair & Unchanging,' while the other four Great Lakes are considered 'Good & Unchanging.'
The report gives Lake Erie a 'Fair & Improving' grade when it comes to fish consumption. I don't know about you, but that doesn't give me a ton of confidence.
The assessment for toxic chemicals in Lake Erie is less than stellar, according to the report.
While Lake Erie definitely has room for improvement in the assessments above, it's the lake's status for some wildlife that is concerning. As you can see from the chart below, Lake Erie is red and yellow, indicating that things are not ideal for the species for which the lake provides habitat.
You can take a look at the full report here
Hopefully, this report will be an eye-opener and the stewards of Lake Erie, along with the citizens who enjoy and rely on it. History has shown that we have not always taken great care of our bodies of water here in New York State. If we don't get it together, we might wake up one day only to realize it's too late and we've screwed ourselves.
Two Lakes In New York State Are Among America's Most Polluted
Aside from Lake Erie, New York is the only state with two lakes among the top 10 most polluted in America. Actually, both lakes are in the top 5 and we actually have the #1 most polluted lake right here in our state. AZ Animals put out the list of the top 10 for 2022.
5. Oneida Lake, New York
The lake is near the Great Lakes, located northeast of Syracuse. Algal blooms and rooted vegetation hampered the recreational use of Oneida Lake, prompting the state to add the lake to its list of impaired waters under the Clean Water Act in 1998. Excess nutrients, particularly phosphorus, from agricultural, urban, and suburban runoff fueled algal blooms in the lake.
1. Onondaga Lake, New York
The most polluted lake in the United States is Onondaga Lake.
Onondaga Lake is a lake in Central New York, immediately northwest of and adjacent to Syracuse, New York. It is not only one of the most polluted lakes in the country, but also takes a spot in the most polluted lakes in the world. Pollution of the lake has been an issue since the late 1800s, with ice harvesting prohibited as early as 1901. The swimming ban happened in 1940, and fishing was outlawed in 1970 owing to mercury contamination. For years, raw sewage was thrown directly into the lake, resulting in high nitrogen levels and algae blooms.
AZ Animals says that New York State has deemed both lakes safe now for fishing and leisure, but I personally wouldn't take my chances in them.