Rep. Randy Gardner’s efforts to fight Lake Erie algae problems received a major boost Monday when Gov. John Kasich signed legislation that includes Gardner’s $3 million Healthy Lake Erie Fund.
“I’m pleased to have Governor Kasich’s support for the Healthy Lake Erie Fund, and to have bipartisan backing to begin to attack this environmental and economic challenge facing our region,” Gardner said.
There has been growing concern by travel and tourism-related businesses that the worsening algae problem in Lake Erie is impacting the region’s economy and forcing higher unemployment.
Specifically, Gardner’s amendment to the Mid-Budget Review Act (House Bill 487) provides up to $3 million to implement recommendations made earlier this year by a task force established by the Kasich Administration to work on the problem. The fund, administered by the Director of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, could be used to monitor the condition of Lake Erie, provide for soil testing in the Western Lake Erie Basin, and support pilot projects to help determine the most effective action to combat the growing algae crisis in Lake Erie.
“So many jobs are impacted by Lake Erie,” Gardner said. “This effort is necessary to provide reliable answers as soon as possible so that we can protect one of America’s great natural assets.”
Gardner intends to host a meeting near the lake in the next few weeks with ODNR Director Zehringer, Ohio Agriculture Director David Daniels and other officials to begin indentifying a more specific plan of action. The meeting will also solicit input from citizens and businesses in Ottawa and Erie counties who are most dependent on a healthy Lake Erie.