A new partnership has a plan to keep Lake Erie clean. The MI CLEAR group is made up of farmers, conservationists, environmental leaders, and more. Those groups are teaming up with the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Jamie Clover Adams is the Director of the Department of Agriculture. She said the multiple perspectives will help improve the lake’s water quality on a variety of fronts.
“This didn’t happen overnight and it’s not gonna be fixed overnight,” she said. “This is a very complex problem that will call for many solutions.”
One of the most persistent problems recently are algal blooms. The blooms taint the lake with unhealthy, sometimes toxic, slime.
Some blame farmers for phosphorus runoff that goes into the lakes. But Jennifer Read of the University of Michigan Water Center said agriculture isn’t the only culprit of the algae problem.
“And we need to sort of keep that in mind and work together constructively to come to solutions that will work, and work over the long run,” she said.
The group plans to study how invasive species, climate change, algae growth and other factors impact the lake’s water quality. From there they will work with scientists and public policy influencers to find ways to keep the water clean in the long term.
Chris Sebastian is with the conservation group Ducks Unlimited. He said this group will make it easier to tackle multiple areas of concern.
“Sharing what we’ve learned and also picking the brains of these other experts here to see how could we adjust our conservation projects across the state to meet these needs,” he said.