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For Immediate Release
April 2, 2018

2017 Western Lake Erie Monitoring Study Shows High Phosphorous Levels 

The Spring 2017 Western Lake Erie Tributary Water Monitoring Summary, released today, again shows high levels of phosphorous headed to Lake Erie. Exacerbated by wet weather, the total phosphorus load in the Maumee River was elevated to more than twice the required reduction targets (40 percent by 2025) identified in the Binational Water Quality Agreement. 

“This report, which is consistent with testing as far back as the early 2000s, confirms that we haven’t moved the needle to meet our goal of reducing phosphorus by 40 percent by 2025 and we have more work to do,” said Ohio EPA Director Craig W. Butler. “While there continues to be significant taxpayer and private dollars spent on incentives and voluntary nutrient reduction programs, it is clear the actual water quality monitoring data shows that our efforts to improve Lake Erie are not over and we must continue to identify new ways to help reduce phosphorous going to the lake.”

This is the fourth year this report has summarized water quality data collected by U.S. Geological Survey, Heidelberg University, Ohio Department of Natural Resources and Ohio EPA. The report evaluates dissolved reactive phosphorus, total phosphorus and nitrogen and monitoring stations throughout the Lake Erie basin.

The report shows some watersheds are faring better than others. However, all are well above the flow weighted mean concentration target for phosphorus. The flow weighted mean concentration measures phosphorus loads relative to stream size and flow. 

The 2017 report is available online at

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For more information, contact:
Heidi Griesmer, Ohio EPA
(614) 644-2160

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