NW Ohioans Want Action to Clean Up Toxic Algae in Lake Erie

“CAFO owners must be held accountable and financially responsible for their manure pollution.” Read Howard Learner’s latest op-ed in the Cleveland Plain Dealer. 

A new ELPC-commissioned poll shows that NW Ohioans support regulatory actions on concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) to reduce the toxic algal blooms that continue to plague Western Lake Erie. Nationally-recognized pollster J. Ann Selzer‘s poll of 500 voters in northwest Ohio found that after respondents learned about the connection of manure runoff pollution from CAFOs, they supported regulatory action. The poll reflects the views of Ohioans from Erie, Lucas, Ottawa and Sandusky Counties, who represent a broad cross-section of the population and political parties.

View Full NW Ohio Water Poll Summary 

View Full Tabulated Poll Results

Clean water is of universal importance to voters in NW Ohio and an overwhelming majority of respondents agreed protecting clean water requires government action. This poll shows that the majority of respondents were willing to support a moratorium on new or expanding CAFOs as well as regulations on permitting existing CAFOs. Governor DeWine must keep Ohio’s promise and commitment under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement to reduce phosphorus entering Lake Erie by 40% by 2025 with a 20% reduction for interim progress by 2020.

Phosphorus pollution from agricultural runoff – excess fertilizer from crops, and manure from CAFOs — is considered the largest cause of harmful algae blooms in western Lake Erie. The Ohio EPA’s analysis found that the agricultural sector is responsible for 88% of the phosphorus pollution in the Maumee River watershed entering Western Lake Erie. Although crop fertilizer is widely cited as the main culprit, a report ELPC released this spring with the Environmental Working Group showed the significant growth of CAFOs and manure runoff from those operations into the Maumee River watershed plays a much larger role in algae bloom formations in western Lake Erie than was previously known.


Maumee Watershed Manure Impact Factsheets:

  1. Using Satellite Imagery to Count Animal Feeding Operations (PDF)
  2. Recent Rapid Growth of Industrial Animal Agriculture (PDF)
  3. More Manure than the Land can Handle (PDF)


Map of the Maumee river watershed in Northwest Ohio, showing large circles indicating where excessive manure is leeching into local waterways

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