The Division of Surface Water participates in many Lake Erie and Great Lakes-related efforts. The main focus areas are:

  • Areas of Concern, specifically the development and implementation of Remedial Action Plans (RAPs) for the Maumee, Black, Cuyahoga and Ashtabula river areas of concern.
  • The Ohio Domestic Action Plan.
  • The bi-national Lakewide Action and Management Plan (LAMP) for Lake Erie.

These efforts are centered on reducing the loadings of pollutants and restoring all beneficial uses to these waterbodies. These programs are described in the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement between Canada and the United States and are mandated under the Great Lakes Critical Programs Act amendment to the Clean Water Act. The Ohio Phosphorus Task Force I and II was an early Ohio effort to address renewed algae blooms. The task force members reviewed phosphorus loading data from Ohio tributaries to Lake Erie, considered possible relationships between trends in dissolved reactive phosphorus loading and in-lake conditions, determined possible causes for increased soluble phosphorus loading, and evaluated possible management options for reducing soluble phosphorus loading.

To complement these two focus areas, Ohio EPA conducts nearshore monitoring that will provide valuable water quality data to inform management decisions and actions to restore Lake Erie and its tributary streams.

Ohio EPA is accepting public comments on the proposal to remove a Beneficial Use Impairment from the Ashtabula River Area of Concern. Comments on the technical removal document can be presented at the public meeting or submitted in writing by September 9, 2019.​ The public meeting is set for August 26, 2019​, at 6 p.m. in Meeting Room A at the Harbor-Topky Memorial Library, 1633 Walnut Blvd., Ashtabula.

The Ohio Areas of Concern (AOCs) were initially identified in the early 1980s as the most environmentally degraded areas along Ohio’s Lake Erie coast and memorialized in the GLWQA as amended in 1987. 

The Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (GLWQA) lays out 14 beneficial use impairments (BUIs) that must be remediated in order to restore the AOCs. In many ways these BUIs reflect similar goals to those represented in the Ohio water quality standards (WQS) for attainment of beneficial uses. The BUIs include: 

  1. Restrictions on fish and wildlife consumption; 
  2. Tainting of fish and wildlife flavor; 
  3. Degradation of fish and wildlife populations; 
  4. Fish tumors or other deformities; 
  5. Bird or animal deformities or reproductive problems; 
  6. Degradation of benthos; 
  7. Restrictions on dredging; 
  8. Eutrophication or undesirable algae; 
  9. Restrictions on drinking water or taste and odor problems; 
  10. Beach closings; 
  11. Degradation of aesthetics; 
  12. Added costs to agriculture and industry; 
  13. Degradation of phytoplankton and zooplankton populations; and 
  14. Loss of fish and wildlife habitat. 

Ohio EPA developed the Delisting Guidance and Restoration Targets for Ohio Areas of Concern that sets Restoration Targets for each of the BUIs. Many of the Restoration Targets are based on existing Ohio WQS and other policies or procedures. The goal of the Great Lakes AOC Program is to delist the AOCs by restoring all beneficial uses to these rivers. Delisting is when all of the BUIs for an AOC have been removed. 

Efforts to restore the AOCs require an ecosystem approach, sediment remediation, and habitat restoration, as well as compliance with environmental regulations. It has taken years to complete the assessments of the conditions. Each AOC is at a different phase of the restoration process; some have management action projects completed while others are still compiling their list of needed projects. 

The AOC Program has been implemented with the assistance of many partners from the state, federal and local governments as well as citizens, industries, businesses, special interest groups and researchers. The advantage of partnerships is the expanded availability of technical expertise and funding opportunities, as well as increased accountability and the potential for long-term stewardship. Ohio has been very successful at leveraging funding under the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) and from other funding sources to complete assessment work and implement effective restoration projects in the state’s four AOCs.

Ashtabula River AOC

The Ashtabula River from the upper turning basin to the 5th St.Bridge was dredged under the Great Lakes Legacy Act Program in 2006 and 2007. Approximately 500,000 cubic yards of sediments contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), heavy metals and a myriad of organochlorine compounds were removed and pumped upland to a confined disposal facility built specifically to contain the river dredgings.

The river from the 5th St.  Bridge to the outer harbor was dredged under U.S. Army Corps of Engineers authorities in 2008 and additional dredging is planned for 2011-2012. Removal of contaminated sediments from the river is needed to delist the BUI for dredging and degradation of benthos, fish tumors and fish consumption restrictions.

To address the remaining BUIs, Ohio EPA received a GLRI grant for a habitat restoration project on the 5 ½ Slip property and began construction of over 1,400 feet of fish shelf habitat in September 2011. The project is scheduled for completion in mid-2012. It is anticipated that this restoration project will lead to the removal of three BUIs (degraded fish populations, degraded benthos and loss of fish habitat).

Successful completion of the habitat project and proposed dredging would represent a significant milestone for this AOC where all management actions have been completed. Once monitoring indicates that the river has responded as anticipated and restoration targets have been achieved, the Ashtabula River will be delisted as an area of concern.

For information about Ohio EPA's Ashtabula AOC program, please contact the division at (614) 644-2001. See U.S. EPA's website for more information.


Black River AOC

The incidence of fish tumors and deformities in Black River brown bullheads, as well as the deformities, fin erosions, lesions and tumors (DELT) percentage for all fish, has decreased significantly, prompting the lifting of a contact advisory and the re-designation of the tumor BUI as being “in recovery.”  A review of recent sediment data in the lower river allowed the Corps of Engineers and Ohio EPA to approve open lake disposal for most of the material dredged from the federal navigation channel in 2009. In 2008, RAP members and other local stakeholders, including the City of Elyria, developed the Lower Black River Ecological Restoration Master Plan. The City of Lorain has been very successful in securing funding for significant remediation and restoration efforts along the lower Black River, including removal of over a million cubic yards of slag from riverbanks, restoration of more than 50 acres of riparian habitat and construction of thousands of feet of underwater habitat shelves. Lorain County has also made progress in the upper watershed with development of watershed action plans for the French Creek and West Branch sub-basins.

Black River Remedial Action Plan

The Black River is the only river system in Ohio where the entire watershed has been designated as an Area of Concern. Because the Black River RAP is a unique community-based public/private initiative, the Black River RAP Coordinating Committee has recently changed their motto to, "Our River, Our Responsibility."

Contaminant loadings from point source dischargers (typically industries and waste water treatment facilities) within the Black River watershed have seen significant reductions within the last decade. The RAP now aims to combat nonpoint source impacts through precision farming techniques, the utilization of best management practices during construction, and the restoration, enhancement, and protection of the Black River riparian corridor. The Black River RAP projects and educational activities address a wide variety of these issues.

Properly managing urban, suburban, and rural land use practices throughout the Black River plus the enhancement and protection of natural riparian corridors will improve the quality and productivity of this valuable natural resource.

If you would like more specific information please contact the division at (614) 644-2001. 

What's Happening?

The Black River RAP Coordinating Committee meets from 1:30 to 3:30, usually on Monday of the second full week of January, March, May, July, September and November. Meeting information can also be found on the NOACA Web site at If you have any environmental events you would like added to this page, please contact the division at (614) 644-2001. 

What's Needed?
The Black River RAP is looking for enthusiastic individuals and organizations with a desire to help improve the quality of the Black River as well as the life associated with it. The Black River is "Your River" and you can make it part of "Your Responsibility" to help clean it up. The RAP relies on public involvement and education as a long term solution to many of the remaining problems in the river. Your involvement and input are extremely important to the RAP process and its success. Please see the list of activities and events under the What’s Happening section and contact the person listed if you are interested in finding out more about a specific action group or program within the RAP.

Donations are also welcome. Donations from business, industry, and local citizens, the time and resources of local, state, and federal agencies as well as the time given by many dedicated volunteers are what makes the Black River RAP a success. If you or your organization are interested, please contact the division at (614) 644-2001.

RAP Publications and Documents

Comprehensive Black River RAP Information

Cuyahoga River AOC

Reduction and elimination of the discharge of toxic chemicals and sewage has greatly improved the quality of the Cuyahoga River AOC.  Federally funded sediment characterizations are currently underway at two locations in the Cuyahoga River AOC under the Great Lakes Legacy Reauthorization Act (GLLRA).  Funding was received locally in 2010 under GLRI to complete a habitat restoration project in the ship channel area and construction will begin on the Scranton Road Peninsula Project in 2012.  GLRI funding was also awarded in 2011 for construction of a debris harvester to remove floating debris in the shipping channel.  Fish and benthos populations are in attainment for all but a small portion of the mainstem segment of the AOC.  Efforts to remove two small dams just upstream from the AOC have been successful, leaving only two dams impeding the Cuyahoga River flow for the lower 59 miles down to Lake Erie.

Cuyahoga River Remedial Action Plan

The Cuyahoga River, located in Northeast Ohio, was designated as one of fourteen "American Heritage Rivers" in 1997. It is recognized worldwide as "the river that burned" and started the environmental movement in the United States. Since that time significant progress has been made in cleaning up and restoring the river’s function and value, but much more remains to be done. If you or your organization have an interest in the Cuyahoga River and Lake Erie, and would like to get involved in an innovative environmental effort, then the Cuyahoga Remedial Action Plan (RAP) might be the program for you. The Cuyahoga RAP is a cooperative effort of citizens, businesses, municipalities, and industry working together with governmental agencies to restore the river’s waters to "fishable and swimmable" condition.

The public-private partnership of the Cuyahoga RAP began in September of 1988. In the first few years of existence, the RAP focused on problem identification and definition. Since then, the Cuyahoga RAP and its stakeholder partners have initiated several programs and projects to address some these issues and problems. Innovative educational programs have been developed to broaden public awareness and involvement. Identification and implementation of remedial measures to further improve the biological and water quality of the region remain to be completed. Many of these programs, projects, and initiatives are discussed through the links below.

If you would like more information, please contact Ed Wilk.

What's Needed?

The Cuyahoga RAP is looking for enthusiastic individuals and organizations with a desire to improve the quality of the Cuyahoga River and the life in and around it. The RAP relies on public involvement and education as a long term solution to many of the remaining problems in the river. Your involvement and input are extremely important to the RAP process and its success.

The Cuyahoga RAP and its local stakeholder members are looking for volunteers and interested groups for the following:

  • Local Watershed Groups — get involved by participating in local group activities or aid in creating your own organization.
  • Habitat/wetland restoration and protection — programs and information is available for residents interested in improving or protecting stream banks and wetlands on their property.
  • Stream Monitoring — training is available on how to monitor river quality by identifying the organisms that live there and by recognizing potential problems.
  • Speakers Bureau — your organization may be interested in hearing about the Cuyahoga River, its successes and challenges, and opportunities for local involvement.
  • River/stream Litter Clean-ups — improve our river by picking up the trash!
  • Storm Drain Stenciling — educating neighborhoods about storm drains and what should and should not go into them — this is a great group of scout activity!
  • "Adopt-A-Spot" on the river or its tributaries — especially in your own neighborhood — for litter clean-ups, stream monitoring, etc.

Please contact Peter Bode, Watershed Coordinator for the RAP at (216) 241-2414 ext 307 or Ed Wilk, Ohio EPA RAP Coordinator at (330) 963-1172 if you would like more information or volunteer for these opportunities.

RAP Publications and Documents

Comprehensive Cuyahoga RAP Information



Maumee River AOC

In the Maumee AOC, GLLRA and Natural Resource Damage (NRD) remediation and restoration projects were completed on the Ottawa River.  This included the removal of contaminated sediment and implementation of habitat restoration projects.  A dam was modified on Swan Creek to allow fish passage and improve stream flow.  In coordination with the Maumee RAP, a Balanced Growth Plan has been developed for Swan Creek.  A large habitat restoration project on the upper portion of the Ottawa River received GLRI funding and construction will begin in 2012.  Other GLLRA site characterization work was conducted in 2011 and additional work is planned, laying the groundwork for future sediment remediation efforts.  In conjunction with the Ottawa River TMDL, Ohio EPA expanded water quality monitoring in 2011 to assess the current condition of the lacustrine influenced portion, including fish tissue and sediment sampling conducted to re-evaluate the current fish consumption and contact advisories.

Maumee River Remedial Action Plan Program

If you or your organization have an interest in Northwest Ohio or Southeast Michigan and would like to get involved in an innovative environmental effort, the Maumee RAP might be the program for you. The Maumee Remedial Action Plan (RAP) is a cooperative effort of citizens, businesses, and industry working together with governments to restore the areas waters to “fishable and swimmable” condition.

The public-private partnership of the Maumee RAP began in October of 1987. During the first few years problem identification and definition was the task. Since then, the Maumee RAP has focused on the implementation of projects to improve the water quality of the region. The projects and educational activities address a wide variety of issues. Many of these are discussed through the links below.

For more information, please contact Cherie Blair.


  • August 2020 Ohio AOC Delisting Guidance and Restoration Targets Version 4.0 Now Available

    The Delisting Guidance and Restoration Targets for Ohio Areas of Concern were developed by Ohio EPA to clarify how Ohio EPA and local AOC groups will work together to delist Ohio’s four Areas of Concern (AOCs). This version of the document includes general updates and edits, new conditions for BUI removal, and locally developed targets. The local AOC Advisory Committees and AOC facilitating organizations are working with Ohio EPA and our federal partners to evaluate current delisting plans and accelerate restoration efforts in the Maumee, Black, Cuyahoga, and Ashtabula River AOCs. The August 2020 Guidance (Version 4) is now available online.​

  • A Framework for Reorganizing and Implementing Ohio’s Remedial Action Program

    A program framework document was recently released to improve the overall effectiveness and Ohio’s Areas of Concern (AOC) program and to accelerate the pace of progress toward delisting Ohio’s AOCs. Ohio EPA is working with the designated local AOC Facilitating Organizations to re-energize the local AOC Advisory Committees and to enhance community involvement in the AOC process. This new framework will also improve transparency, accountability, and increase opportunities for public engagement. The August 2020 program framework (version 4)  is available online.

History of Remedial Action Plans

There are four Remedial Action Plans (RAPs) in Ohio: Ashtabula River (USEPA), Black River, Cuyahoga River, and Maumee River.  Ohio EPA is responsible for ensuring RAPs are implemented in Ohio.  These areas are the State's most polluted and environmentally impacted rivers which empty into Lake Erie.  Ohio's Remedial Action Plan Program (GLIN)addresses the restoration of beneficial uses (GLIN) in Ohio's four Lake Erie Areas of Concern (AOC) (GLIN).  As requested in the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, (IJC) the RAPs take an ecosystem approach and incorporate active public involvement.

Why are Ohio's RAPs being done?

Year after year, the same locations were identified as the most contaminated areas around the Great Lakes.  The adoption and implementation of environmental laws and regulations significantly reduced the discharge of pollutants, but these areas continued to experience severe environmental degradation.  In 1985, the Water Quality Board of the International Joint Commission (IJC) recommended the development of comprehensive remedial action plans (RAPs) to concentrate on the cleanup and restoration of these areas.  New, creative, innovative, collaborative and wide-reaching approaches would be needed to achieve this goal.  The eight Great Lakes states and Ontario agreed to the challenge and Ohio EPA took the lead for the program in Ohio.

How are Ohio's RAPs set-up?

Neither the State nor Federal Governments had sufficient resources, the historical knowledge, or even the authorities to restore all the impairments identified.  Ohio EPA invited the local communities to become active participants in the decision-making involved with the RAPs.  Initial public meetings on the RAP process and the outstanding environmental problems in each AOC were held in 1987.  At those meetings, the local communities showed a great interest in taking a strong role in restoring their rivers.

Local committees have been created in each of the areas to coordinate the development and implementation of the RAP.  Ohio EPA works with these committees as an equal partner in the RAP process.  The local committees have been built with the intention of obtaining representation from all of the local agencies, organizations, and unaffiliated citizens with an interest or a stake in river remediation.

Each of Ohio's RAPs has been organized somewhat differently, depending on the unique characteristics of each AOC.  These characteristics include: environmental problems in the AOC, sources and causes of the problems, available resources - both technical and financial, political climate, public interest, and the volunteer base.

What makes Ohio's RAP program work?

The ecosystem approach and the public involvement requirements of the RAP process have allowed us to be as flexible and innovative as we need to be to restore all beneficial uses to each AOC.  With funding from U.S. EPA and the State, Ohio EPA has been able to support a full-time coordinator for each RAP.  However, much cross-program technical assistance has been provided by staff from several divisions and districts.  This agency-wide cooperation has been invaluable to the RAP program.  Promotion of the following concepts by Ohio EPA have lead to an effective RAP program in Ohio.

  • Empowering the local communities with Ohio EPA as an equal partner.
  • Community participation promotes local ownership.
  • Participation of professional planners.
  • Top-down commitment.
  • Keeping RAP needs and accomplishments high profile.
  • Creating a separate identity.
  • Staff enthusiasm, dedication, and creativity.
  • Volunteer enthusiasm, dedication, and creativity.
  • Developing partnerships with existing programs.
  • Constant communication at all levels.
  • Extensive efforts to seek funding.
  • Setting milestones to encourage enthusiasm rather than unrealistic goals that generate frustration.
  • Strategic planning.
  • Numerous efforts to keep the public informed, aware and involved.
  • Keeping state and U.S. elected officials apprised of RAP efforts.

A Lakewide Action and Management Plan, or "LAMP," is a plan of action to assess, restore, protect and monitor the ecosystem health of a Great Lake. It is used to coordinate the work of all the government, tribal and non-government partners working to improve the Lake ecosystem. A public consultation process is used to ensure that the LAMP is addressing the public's concerns.

The Lake Erie LAMP was originally intended to focus on reducing loadings of toxic chemical pollutants to the lake. However, the early participants in the LAMP process felt that other issues were as important as, or more important than, toxics.  Therefore, the Lake Erie LAMP also looks at nutrient loadings, land use, invasive species and exploitation of the lake’s resources. The Lake Erie LAMP should be viewed as a framework to define the management intervention needed to bring Lake Erie back to chemical, physical and biological integrity, and to further define Ohio EPA commitments to those actions.

Over the last 20 years, the Lake Erie ecosystem has undergone changes that have significantly altered the internal dynamics of the lake. These changes have largely been influenced by the influx of zebra and quagga mussels, round gobies and other invasive species. Water quality monitoring indicates that the amount of dissolved (biologically available) phosphorus that is being loaded into the lake in increasing. Algal blooms of cyanobacteria and Cladophora are reappearing at levels comparable to the blooms of the 1960s and 1970s. Microcystis in particular has been causing extensive blooms that seem to get worse in each subsequent year. In 2011, Lake Erie experienced one of the largest cyanobacteria blooms in decades and unlike recent years, the bloom extended outside of the Western Basin and into the Central Basin, affecting the waters near the Cleveland metropolitan area. Of additional concern are the toxins produced by the cyanobacteria that are potentially toxic to humans and animals. The benthic mat forming cyanobacterium Lyngbya wollei began growing profusely in Maumee Bay in 2006 and has now created a nuisance condition in part of the western basin.

Nutrients, particularly phosphorus, appear to be the basis for the deteriorating conditions in Lake Erie. Several approaches have been initiated to address the growing problem with algal blooms in the lake. In 2009, the Lake Erie LAMP Management Committee identified indicator endpoints for total phosphorus in surface water. In 2010, the Lake Erie LAMP published Status of Nutrients in the Lake Erie Basin. The committee is also finalizing a bi-national nutrient management strategy for the lake. Total phosphorus targets for the tributaries were adopted by the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement Annex 4 Subcommittee in 2015. U.S. EPA and the states published Domestic Action Plans in 2018 committing to implementing actions that will reduce the phosphorus loads and concentrations in the lake.

Where can I find the current LaMP?

What are LaMPs in general?

One of the most significant environmental agreements in the history of the Great Lakes was the signing of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement of 1978 (GLWQA), between the United States and Canada.  The GLWQA committed the U.S. and Canada (the Parties) to address the water quality issues of the Great Lakes in a coordinated joint fashion.  The purpose of the GLWQA is to "restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the waters of the Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem." One of the recommended actions of the GLWQA is the production of Lakewide Management Plans (LaMPs) for lake waters, to identify critical pollutants that impair beneficial uses and to develop recommendations, strategies, and policy options to restore these beneficial uses.  A systematic and comprehensive ecosystem approach is to be used to develop LaMPs, including ecosystem objectives, where the state of knowledge permits.  LaMPs are currently underway for Lakes Ontario, Erie, Michigan and Superior.

What is the Lake Erie LaMP?

The Lake Erie LaMP process began in 1995 with the publication of the Lake Erie LaMP Concept Paper (U.S.EPA 1995) that outlines the scope and organizational framework for the LaMP.  The LaMP process has proven to be a resource intensive effort and taken much longer than expected.  In the interest of advancing the rehabilitation of the Great Lakes, and getting information to the public in a timely manner, the Binational Executive Committee (BEC) passed a resolution in 1999 to accelerate the effort.  Accelerate meant that there should be an emphasis on taking action and adopting a streamlined approach to the LaMP document review and approval process.  Steering away from the four-stage process outlined in the GLWQA, BEC recommended a LaMP be prepared every two years based on the current body of knowledge and the remedial actions that can be implemented now.  The concept of adaptive management will be applied to the LaMP so that it can continue to adjust over time to highlight and address the most pertinent issues in Lake Erie.

The result of the BEC decision is a working LaMP 2000 document.  Some sections and the background reports used to produce them have been extensively reviewed, while others have not.  But, it provides a baseline against which to measure the future progress of Lake Erie beneficial use protection and restoration.  The LaMP 2000 contains the following key components:

  • PROBLEM DEFINITION - only 3 beneficial use impairments were not identified in Lake Erie: tainting of fish and wildlife flavor; restrictions on drinking water consumption or taste and odor problems; and added costs to agriculture and industry.  The causes of impairment to date have been identified as: PCBs, mercury, PAHs, lead, chlordane, dioxins, DDE, DDT, mirex, dieldrin, phosphorus, nitrates, E. coli, fecal coliform, non-indigenous species, especially zebra mussels, habitat loss, and sediment loading.
  • POLLUTANTS - mercury and PCBs have been designated as critical pollutants for priority action.  A number of other chemicals, metals, nutrients, bacteria and suspended solids have also been identified as Lake Erie LaMP pollutants of concern.  Existing databases containing information on these substances were reviewed to determine their utility for calculating loads or tracking ambient water column concentrations.  Some of the nutrient data may be sufficient for calculating loads.  But, for the remaining pollutants, LaMP 2000 recommends a source track down approach versus a mass balance approach for reducing contaminant loads to Lake Erie.  Once the most seriously contaminated areas and major sources are identified, the Lake Erie LaMP recommends that available resources and remedial actions be focused immediately on those areas, rather than on further attempts to estimate total loads.
  • HUMAN HEALTH - The GLWQA requires that LaMPs define the threat to human health posed by critical pollutants, singly or in synergistic or additive combination with another substance.  LaMP 2000 describes pathways of exposure, the weight of evidence approach linking environmental exposure to health effects, and suggests a preliminary suite of indicators to measure human health impacts.
  • ACTION PLANS - LaMP 2000 describes several programs already underway that the Lake Erie LaMP can coordinate with to help restore the lake.  These include RAPs, the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, the Binational Toxics Reduction Strategy, the North American Waterfowl Management Plan, and the Lake Erie in the Millennium initiative.  The last of these is a binational, coordinated effort to identify the management and research needs of the lake, link them, and obtain the resources to complete the most needed research efforts.  In addition, LaMP 2000 outlines preliminary action plans for habitat restoration and PCB and mercury reduction.
  • EMERGING ISSUES - LaMP 2000 addresses significant ongoing and emerging issues including: non-indigenous invasive species, climate change impacts, long range transport of air pollutants, endocrine disrupters, and the concept of overall phosphorus management versus limiting our efforts strictly to managing phosphorus loads.

Who is developing the Lake Erie LaMP?

U.S. EPA Region 5 and Environment Canada are the Federal co-leads.  In the United States, the State of Ohio is the lead State, with participation from Michigan, Pennsylvania, and New York.  In Canada, participating agencies are the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Agriculture Canada, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs, and the Ontario Ministry of Environment and Energy.

The participation of 20 agencies representing two countries, four states, and a province, and the interested public (including the Lake Erie Binational Forum), will ultimately lead to a Lake Erie LaMP that all of the partners can commit to implementing.

Supplemental Information

In 2012, Ohio EPA, in partnership with the Ohio Lake Erie Commission, the Ohio Department of Agriculture, and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources reconvened the Ohio Lake Erie Phosphorus Task Force as a Phase II effort. A wide range of participants in a variety of disciplines, including members of the original Ohio Lake Erie Phosphorus Task Force, and agri-business representatives and crop consultants, came together to build upon the findings of the 2010 Phosphorus Task Force report and assess new information.

The purpose of Phosphorus Task Force Phase II was to: 

  1. Develop recommendations for reduction targets for total and dissolved reactive phosphorus that can be used to track future progress; and 
  2. Develop policy and management recommendations based upon new and emerging data and information.  

The Task Force's report incorporates findings of current research, develops a broader consensus on the management actions necessary to decrease algae blooms in Lake Erie, and proposes new recommendations. The recommendations in this report reflect the Task Force members' mutual agreement on key issues based on the science and data currently available. As additional research data and results from program implementation become available, the Task Force expects that recommendations for action will evolve over time. 

Phase II Agendas, Notes and Presentations

*** Meeting Materials - Ohio Lake Erie Phosphorus Task Force - Phase II ***

May 31, 2012

Handouts (Syllabus, Phase I Report Section 8, Comparison of Spring Data)


August 1, 2012

Handouts (U.S. EPA Sampling & Analytical Procedures, Journal Publications)


 September 5, 2012



 October 3, 2012



 November 7, 2012



 January 9, 2013



 February 6, 2013



 March 14, 2013



 April 3, 2013
 May 1, 2013



 June 25, 2013

Phase I Information

In consultation with Heidelberg University, Ohio EPA convened the Ohio Lake Erie Phosphorus Task Force in 2007 to review and evaluate the increasing dissolved reactive phosphorus (DRP) loading trends and the connection to the deteriorating conditions in Lake Erie. The Task Force was charged to identify and evaluate potential point and nonpoint sources and related activities that might be contributing to the increasing trends in DRP. The Task Force included a wide range of participants and presentations by invited experts in a variety of disciplines. This report presents the findings of the Task Force along with recommendations for future management actions for Ohio. 

Phase I Agendas, Notes and Presentations

*** Meeting Materials ***


November 9, 2009



October 5, 2009



August 26, 2009



April 29, 2009




March 17, 2009




January 13, 2009


November 4, 2008

October 1, 2008



July 30, 2008

June 25, 2008


May 13, 2008


April 25, 2008



March 27, 2008

February 29, 2008


January 28, 2008


December 20, 2007



October 23, 2007



September 10, 2007



July 17, 2007



May 23, 2007



March 27, 2007




Phase I References

Building on the 2010 National Coastal Condition Assessment (NCCA) Ohio EPA launched the Comprehensive Nearshore Monitoring Program in 2011 using funding under the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI). The project was designed over a three-year cycle to develop methods, gain expertise and build a baseline for water quality conditions in nearshore areas of Lake Erie. The experience gained served as the impetus to integrate annual Lake Erie nearshore monitoring into Ohio’s statewide strategy. 

The data generated by this project supports several state and federal initiatives. Sections 305(b) and 303(d) of the Clean Water Act require authorized states to submit biennial reports on the general condition of waters of the state and to develop a prioritized list of those that are not meeting goals. Ohio EPA's Division of Surface Water (DSW) submits the Integrated Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment Report (Integrated Report) to fulfill this requirement. The report summarizes the status of select beneficial uses based on the assessment unit framework. 

Nearshore monitoring objectives:

  • Provide credible aquatic life and water quality data.
  • Support Integrated Report beneficial use assessments.
  • Support AOC beneficial use assessment and de-listing. 
  • Track nutrient concentrations against interim substance objectives.
  • Evaluate minimum dissolved oxygen levels in the hypolimnion of the Central Basin.
  • Monitor burrowing Mayfly populations as an indicator of eutrophication. 
  • Collect algal community composition and biomass information.
  • Support Cyanotoxin advisory database. 

More Information on the 2019 nearshore monitoring efforts can be found in the 2019 Quality Assurance Project Plan for Lake Erie Monitoring.

More detailed information can be found on the Statewide Biological and Water Quality Assessment page.

Historical Documents

Celebrating the Comeback of the Burning River
To many, the Cuyahoga River fire on June 22, 1969 represents a turning point for environmental regulation. Now 50 years later, how is this river doing in its recovery “fueled” by local, state and federal partners?

Recommended Phosphorus Loading Targets Report