Archive for May, 2019

New Threat in Central Basin

With summer upon us and ongoing legislative and administrative discussions related to protecting Lake Erie continuing in Columbus, the Ohio State University’s Stone Lab has released a new study identifying a new algal threat in the central basin of Lake Erie. The presence of the new bacterial causes additional concern because 1) it is also a neurotoxin with severe implications for environment, health, and the lakefront economy, 2) most water treatment facilities do not currently test for it or have the ability to test for it without expensive facility upgrades, and 3) presence of the toxin in the central basin goes against some of the traditional things we’ve come to understand regarding the algal growth- scientists don’t yet understand how it is growing. The study is available to the public but has also been presented in several media stories such as this one in the Akron Beacon Journal and this one in Science Daily.
In a media release, OLG President Tony Yankel pointed out that this news ads a new dimension of urgency to the pleas of lakefront property owners to resolve permitting processes and protect the lake’s shoreline. Yankel stated, “We are closely reviewing the Stone Lab report, which indicates that the muddier waters of the central basin are an underlying cause of this new toxin. This is a strong argument for reducing sediment. In this time of extremely high water, shoreline protection is being destroyed, resulting in unprecedented amounts of land and sediment going into the lake. If ODNR continues to frustrate efforts to permit shoreline protection, nothing will stop the massive amounts of land loss and sedimentation taking place.”

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Annual Meeting Media Release

May 24, 2019

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

LAKEFRONT GROUP TO HOST ANNUAL MEETING MAY 30th

Formal Meeting to include extensive discussion of water levels and water quality

Sheffield Lake: The Ohio Lakefront Group (OLG) will hold its Annual Meeting at the Catawba Island Club (CIC) in Port Clinton on Thursday May 30, 2019.  Registration will begin at 6:30 with the meeting to begin promptly at 7:00 PM. Following a short business meeting, attendees will hear several presentations including two from the Buffalo Office of the Army Corps of Engineers addressing high water levels and techniques to develop effective shoreline protection.  There will also be a policy update regarding water quality. A question and answer period will follow.

The meeting comes as lakefront property owners are experiencing water levels that have approached historic highs, with many property owners experiencing significant damages. It also quickly follows after the release of a very concerning report from OSU’s Stone Laboratory outlining a new toxic threat in the central basin of Lake Erie.

One representative from the Buffalo Office of the Army Corps of Engineers will address the historic high water levels.  Another representative from the Buffalo Office of the Army Corps of Engineers will address techniques for installing adequate shoreline protection and the Army Corps’ simple permitting process.  Tony Yankel, organization president observes, “The Army Corps’ permitting process is far simpler than that required by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.”

Jim Stouffer, President of the Lake Erie Foundation, will speak about the collaborative efforts his group has promoted to address the Green Algae problem.  Tony Yankel and the OLG have been working with the Lake Erie Foundation in an effort to reduce this problem that impacts virtually all Ohioans.

Mr. Yankel will speak about OLG’s efforts to simplify the Ohio Department of Resource’s (ODNR) permitting process with both the previous and the newly elected administration.  Mr. Yankel stated: “Although we have been talking about ODNR’s onerous permitting process, those talks have not yet yielded any change on the part of the State.  We have historic high waters accompanied by erosion and destruction of the existing structures along the shore. ODNR’s policies appear to turn a deaf ear to the loss of property and property values that is occurring along the entire lake shore.  We are not at the peak of this year’s water levels, so things will only get worse.”  Yankel added, “We are closely reviewing the Stone Lab report, which indicates that the muddier waters of the central basin are an underlying cause of this new toxin. This is a strong argument for reducing sediment. In this time of extremely high water, shoreline protection is being destroyed, resulting in unprecedented amounts of land and sediment going into the lake. If ODNR continues to frustrate efforts to permit shoreline protection, nothing will stop the massive amounts of land loss and sedimentation taking place.”

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Notice of Annual Meeting

Dear OLG Member: It is time for our Annual Meeting, which will be held on Thursday, May 30, 2019, at the Catawba Island Club (CIC). Registration is at 6:30 p.m. and the meeting starts promptly at 7:00 p.m. (Directions are provided at the end of this letter.) As we have invited several important speakers, the formal part of the meeting should last less than 20 minutes and will consist of only two items: a Treasurer’s Report and a vote to elect 3 members to a 3-year term to the Board of Directors. Listed below are the candidates for the Board. All candidates are currently serving on the Board of Directors.                                     

Greg Baeppler                  Bay Village                

Bob Bunsey                      Huron                        

 Vitas Cyvas                      Willowick                   

 Immediately following will be four very timely presentations:First, I will discuss our current relationship with the new Governor. Under our previous Governor, ODNR was not following the letter and the spirit of the Supreme Court’s decision in our lawsuit. For example, ODNR implemented an “emergency” permitting process in 2018 seemingly to help us. But, for obvious reasons, it was not well received by the public. As of the writing of this letter, we do not know if Governor DeWine is planning to rectify these policies. But, we should know more by the Annual Meeting. 

Second, given the high-water levels of the Lake and the resulting damage to coastal structures and property along the Lake, we will have Lauren Schifferle, a Civil Engineer from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Water Management Branch speak to us about these high water levels and what to anticipate in the future. You likely know that the Lake level rose over 8 inches just in April, and is rapidly approaching an all-time high. 

Third, as every property owner is very concerned with the damage being caused by the elevated water levels coupled with seemingly endless storms, Keith Sendziak, a Biologist from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Regulatory Branch, will discuss what structures have been most effective in controlling avulsion and erosion. He will also discuss the Corps’ permitting process. (Spoiler alert – the Corps’ process is much more reasonable than the ODNR’s process.) 

Fourth, Jim Stouffer, President of the Lake Erie Foundation, will speak about green algae and their efforts to bring about appropriate changes via a coalition of various groups and a multi-faceted approach. As always, there will be a question and answered period where you may raise your questions, comments or concerns to the experts. Please take advantage of this unique opportunity. As you can see, we have a lot of beneficial information to share with you. Therefore, please plan to attend the Annual Meeting on Thursday, May 30, 2019. Registration begins at 6:30p.m., and the meeting starts promptly at 7:00 p.m. 

Location:  Catawba Island Club (“CIC”) 4235 East Beach Club Rd. Port Clinton, OH 43452 

Directions: From the East or West:Take Ohio Route 2 and go toward Port Clinton as appropriate.Follow Ohio Route 2 to Ohio Route 53 North. Take Exit 124 North.Follow Ohio Route 53 North (W Catawba Rd)Turn left (West) onto CR-30 (N West Catawba Rd.)Turn right onto East Beach Club Rd. 

Light hors d’oeuvres, coffee, and soda will be available. You might recall that because we settled our lawsuit, the Board reduced annual membership dues. Our previous dues were $50 per year, plus a requested additional contribution to support the lawsuit. The dues structure is now $50 per year for those who have (cumulatively) contributed less than $1,000, and $25 per year for those who have (cumulatively) contributed $1,000 or more. Additional contributions are welcome, but not requested at this time.I hope to see you there.

Sincerely, Tony Yankel

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