Lake Erie’s water quality is declining because of algae caused by excess nutrients, invasive species, reduced water levels, climate change, toxics, and mercury (“Erie ranks No. 2 of 5 Great Lakes for threat level; Higher contamination levels determine money for cleanup,” Jan. 1). Declining water quality results in fewer walleye, bass, and yellow perch.
To turn Lake Erie’s quality around, federal funding is needed. Lake Erie can recover quickly, with an average turnover of the western basin of 30 to 45 days and 2.6 years for the whole lake. The Great Lakes need continued federal funding via the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and other programs.
But those combined funds — almost $3 billion — still fall far short of the $20 billion experts estimate is needed to restore high water quality and clean the lake from the dumping of sewage.
In 2012, members of the Lake Erie Charter Boat Association voluntarily collected weekly water samples that were sent to the Ohio Environmental Association for analysis. More monitoring is needed.
In 2013, I hope state and federal officials will provide more funds to help the Great Lakes, especially Lake Erie.
Executive Director Lake Erie Waterkeeper Inc. Oregon
Here’s a way toreform campaigns
We have weathered the election and the fiscal cliff. Now the electorate must address political campaigns.
There should be a law that campaigns can run no more than 90 days. The government would fund all elections: federal, state, and local. Candidates would meet face to face in their districts, attending gatherings at churches, schools, arenas, and other public venues. TV coverage would be available only for open forums and debates.
Candidates who take money besides what the government provides would be subject to penalties that would be determined by nonpartisan committees.
Candidates for office would be allowed to speak only about themselves, their backgrounds, their achievements, and their proposals for serving. Fines will be levied for negative comments about other candidates.
Some may think this suggestion is comedic, but campaign money has created a dysfunctional system.
We can either work for a better system and better leaders, or we can continue whining.
Local arts scene needs support
The fall season at my house means the opening of the performing arts season. My wife and I look forward to attending concerts, shows, plays, and musicals throughout our area. Unfortunately, last fall was different.
I don’t know whether it was the Tigers playing in the World Series, the success of the University of Toledo football team, the wonderful weather, or the struggling economy, but most of the theaters and concert halls we attended were pretty empty.
I hope this is not a trend. The performing arts help shape the quality of our lives and connect us with each other. Our area’s diverse menu of performing arts attracted us here from Chicago a little less than 25 years ago.
Now that the long, cold nights of winter are upon us, I urge people to help support local performing arts. When they plan a get-together with friends on a Friday or Saturday night, people should enjoy the food at a locally owned restaurant and then head to one of our many local performing arts venues.
The vitality of our community depends on us.
Editor’s note: The writer is chairman of the Toledo Cultural Arts Center at the Valentine Theatre and a trustee of the Arts Commission of Greater Toledo.
Fine for fishing is not enough
A Canadian commercial fishing vessel gets caught in Ohio waters without a permit, using an illegal net, and gets fined only $5,000 (“Wide net keeps Erie commercial fishermen in line,” Jan. 14).
That fine is spit in the bucket compared to the price Canadian fishermen get for perch and walleye.