Portman Says There's Still a lot to do to Protect lake Erie

Jan 15, 2016

Senator Rob Portman addressing the Lake Erie Marine Trade Association.

 Ohio's U.S. Sen. Rob Portman says progress is being made on Lake Erie issues like algae blooms and Asian carp, but there’s still work to be done.  Portman spoke today at the annual meeting of the Lake Erie Marine Trade Association. WKSU’s Kevin Niedermier reports.

Portman has had recent success in helping to phase-out micro beads, the tiny abrasives in facial scrubs and toothpaste that flow into Lake Erie, where they absorb toxins and are eaten by fish. He has also sponsored legislation to fight algae blooms. And Portman says he and other lawmakers have given the Army Corp of Engineers emergency powers to expand the use of electric screens in the Mississippi watersheds being used to keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes.

“The authorization (is) to be able to move forward with some projects outside of Chicago to be able to keep some of these carp from moving further north. Sadly, I’ll tell you there is more and more evidence the carp are moving in.”

Asian carp DNA has been found in Lake Erie. Portman says a recent study shows a full-scale infestation would mean one-third of all fish caught in the lake would be Asian carp. And that would impact recreation. The Lake Erie Marine Trade Association says any threat to the lake’s health can have a big impact on Ohio’s economy.