The Nature Conservancy is working with agriculture, business, government and citizens in Indiana, Michigan and Ohio to revive the health of the Western Lake Erie Basin by facing concerns brought on by run-off, loss and alteration of coastal habitats and invasive species.
Facts about the Western Lake Erie Basin (WLEB)
- Lake Erie is the shallowest (averaging 24 feet) and warmest of all Great Lakes.
- It generates more than $7.4 billion annually through waterbased tourism.
- The Basin has some of the world’s most fertile farmland, with agriculture annual market values exceeding $1.2 billion.
- It spans 8.3 million acres in the U.S., and its tributaries run through 3 states: Indiana, Michigan and Ohio.
Issues in the Western Lake Erie Basin
- Excess nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen
- Run-off from point and non-point sources
- Altered water flows
- Invasive species
Together with our partners, we are improving the quality of the water flowing into Lake Erie from tributary streams and restoring the health of coastal wetlands. Our goal is a healthy, resilient system that provides us with sustainable agriculture, clean drinking water, habitat for migratory birds and other wildlife and world class fishing and recreation opportunities today and far into the future.
The Nature Conservancy has a long history of land protection and restoration in Western Lake Erie Basin. We are building on that work and expanding it to encompass the entire basin from headwaters to open water. In this working landscape, we are collaborating with others to restore a dynamic, functioning system that meets the needs of people while maintaining its health and resilience.
We are working with farmers and using science to target conservation practices in the basin where they will most effectively reduce nutrient and soil loss and improve drainage.
Debunk the myths and learn the facts about this great creature!
Millions depend on Lake Erie for drinking water and recreation. It’s also a vital fishery. But it has a long history of environmental damage, and that continues today with a resurgence of toxic algal blooms.