The Press Newspaper

Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency is offering funds to help eligible homeowners in Lucas County to repair or replace their septic systems.

The Ohio EPA awarded a $300,000 loan to the county as part of the Ohio Department of Health’s Home Sewage Treatment Systems (HSTS) Repair/Replacement project for 2015.

The Ohio EPA also provided funds for HSTS repairs/replacements in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013, according to Dina Pierce, media coordinator for the northwest and southwest district of the Ohio EPA. This round of funding is being co-administered with the Ohio Department of Health (ODH).

The funding is expected to improve the quality of life for low-income residents by repairing or replacing failing home sewage treatment systems at an affordable cost. In addition to addressing potential health concerns, local water quality will benefit from the improvements. By targeting failing home sewage systems in the western Lake Erie basin, nutrient and bacteria runoff into the lake is expected to be reduced. The western basin of Lake Erie has been plagued by algal blooms in the last several years, some of it due to leaking septic systems along the lake.

Of course, the shark epidemic on the Carolina coast is no threat here, but Lake Erie has its own shark — the walleye.

Dr. Chris Vandergoot

Believe it or not, that’s what Dr. Chris Vandergoot, supervisor with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Sandusky Fisheries Unit, calls the walleye — “Lake Erie’s shark” because walleye are the lake’s predator.

Thanks to new technology, the Ohio DNR is better understanding that a single walleye gets around — after spawning, it can virtually travel from the western basin to the central and even eastern basin in a year’s time, and then back to the western basin to spawn again in the spring.

Some walleye, Dr. Vandergoot says, leave the western basin and travel to Lake Huron and back. They are just beginning to record their paths using digital technology, and can follow a single walleye’s movements while it’s spawning on a reef, or its long term movements throughout the lake.

Dr. Vandergoot says walleye, a cold water species, moves east as you get into the warmer, summer months because the colder, deeper water in the central and eastern basins promotes growth and more foraging opportunities. He says because of their new study, movements previously understood have been confirmed, and new movements are being discovered.

Four Ottawa County sheriff’s deputies lost pay, were suspended and kicked off marine patrol duty for the remainder of the year for crossing into Canadian waters last month.

“What they did was absolutely a bad decision,” Ottawa County Sheriff Steve Levorchick said. “It was inappropriate. They knew it.”

Levorchick’s chief deputy, Jeff Hickman, received the most severe penalty – a 20-day suspension. Detective Joel Barton was off the job for 15 days. The other two deputies, Don St. Clair and Ross Glovinsky, landed three day suspensions.

Hickman, the highest ranking of the deputies, earns $28.15 an hour, according to Ottawa County Auditor Larry Hartlaub. He retired from the sheriff’s office in 2009 and was later rehired. The disciplinary action did not affect his retirement pay. Barton makes $25.01 an hour.

One of the biggest players actively involved in keeping Lake Erie healthy can be found on a 6.5 acre island easily accessible from downtown Put-In-Bay.

Gibraltar Island used to be a lookout point for Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry in the fight against the British during the War of 1812. Now, it’s a lookout for keeping the world’s most recreationally-used fresh-water lake environmentally healthy and its billion-dollar tourism industry thriving.

The Ohio State University’s F.T. Stone Laboratory on Gibraltar Island is 120 years old and has been Ohio’s Lake Erie laboratory since 1895. It is the oldest freshwater biological field station in the country and part of Ohio Sea Grant.

If you have ever been curious about the Lake Erie science that takes place at Stone Lab, or want to take a peek inside the Civil War-era Cooke Castle, or peer down from Perry’s Lookout, the opportunity presents itself at the 17th Annual Friends of Stone Lab open house from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, September 12.

After making presentations to trustees in Lake, Middleton and Perrysburg townships on a proposal to form a storm water management district, the Wood County engineer’s office is preparing to update the county commissioners this week on the proposal.

Kevin Laughlin, storm water coordinator for the engineer’s office, is scheduled to present information about a management district format to the commissioners during their Sept. 1 meeting at 9:30 a.m.

“We started going to trustees meetings, saying we wanted to get the conversation started in forming this district. Everything is preliminary right now. The first step is having stakeholder meetings and getting people to the table and saying, This is what we can do, what do we want to do, if anything?” Laughlin said. “Nothing is set in stone.”

He made a presentation to the Lake Township trustees during their Aug. 18 meeting.

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