Clean-Water Turnaround for Northern Lake Erie Coast

The Takeaway: A project aimed at lessening flooding and improving water quality through stormwater reduction resulted in water-absorbing plants and other “best practice” methods being installed in various spots across Lake Erie’s northern coast.

This initiative conducts targeted trainings and spurs green infrastructure projects to improve the water quality of Lake Erie. Local contractors attend workshops each year to become “clean water contractors” and implement prescribed practices. In 2016 alone, most green infrastructure projects installed in Erie County involved “clean water contractors,” including a recent Cedar Point installation featuring water-absorbent concrete and the first-ever bioretention cell in the county. The program has administered seven trainings since its inception in late 2015, as well as a Clean Water Contractor Expo. This first expo featured over 20 vendors, with 146 attendees who represented 49 companies.

The program is already showing positive results. Coastal managers have seen a decrease in water quality violations, an increase in the use of methods to prevent concrete waste from flowing into waterways, and improved sediment and erosion control practices. Managers have also witnessed program pride among certified contractors by their display of “clean water contractor” logos on work vehicles and other equipment.

This partnership effort is co-led by the Old Woman Creek National Estuarine Research Reserve. (original 2016/updated 2018)

Partners: Erie Soil and Water Conservation District, NOAA Science Collaborative Project, Old Woman Creek Reserve