Lake Erie Strategic Plan
The Lake Erie program encompasses the 2.25 million acres of Lake Erie under Ohio's jurisdiction. While the focus of this program is on aquatic wildlife, the Division of Wildlife understands that Lake Erie aquatic resources are intricately linked to physical, chemical, and biological components of the lake and watershed. The Division also recognizes that Lake Erie fisheries have important social, cultural, economic, and biological components.
Historically, Lake Erie commercial and sport fisheries have been very important to Ohio. Sport fishing for walleye, yellow perch, and smallmouth bass amounts to 10 million hours a year of recreational activity on Lake Erie. Commercial fishing continues for yellow perch, white bass, and a variety of other species. Fisheries management is conducted under the auspices of the Joint Strategic Plan for the Management of Great Lakes Fisheries, to which Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New York, and Ontario are signatories.
- Lake Erie is the most biologically productive of the Great Lakes, often producing more pounds of fish than the other Great Lakes combined.
- The lake is profoundly affected by its watershed: sedimentation, urbanization, and agricultural runoff impact Lake Erie more than any of the Great Lakes.
- An estimated 450,000 people fish in the Ohio waters of Lake Erie every year, contributing $680 million to Ohio's economy.
- Issue: The successive impacts of human disturbances are altering the structure and function of the Lake Erie ecosystem, making its aquatic wildlife communities less stable and less predictable. Future disturbances are almost certain, and will confound the Division's ability to manage aquatic wildlife resources.
Direction: Enhance understanding of ecosystem function and effectiveness of management in a constantly changing environment.
- Issue: Aquatic nuisance species threaten the diversity and abundance of aquatic wildlife in Lake Erie.
Direction: Prevent the occurrence of new invaders, prevent the expansion of existing species into the Ohio River drainage, and abate/reduce existing species impacts.
- Issue: Aquatic habitats have been degraded and affect the viability of Lake Erie aquatic wildlife resources.
Direction: The Division will systematically improve the quantity and quality of aquatic habitats of importance to Lake Erie aquatic wildlife.
- Issue:Lake Erie fish populations are subject to intense sport and commercial fishing, potentially reducing the sustainability of benefits to Ohioans.
Direction: Balance long-term stability of diverse fish stocks, as measured by the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, Lake Erie Committee's Fish Community Goals and Objectives, with demands for short-term economic and social benefits.
- Implement the Aquatic Nuisance Species State Management Plan. (1, 2, 3, 4)
- Regulate Ohio sport and commercial harvests in a conservative manner (below Maximum Sustainable Yields). (1, 4)
- Collaborate with other Lake Erie agencies for lakewide assessment, research, and harvest allocations. (1, 2, 3, 4)
- Promote and manage for multi-species sport fisheries (walleye, yellow perch, smallmouth bass, white bass, and steelhead trout). (1, 4)
- Manage for sustainable sport and commercial harvests while ensuring social, economic, and biological integrity of Lake Erie resources. (1, 2, 3, 4)
- Identify, appraise, and inventory critical habitats for Lake Erie fishes and develop a prioritization plan to achieve an efficient, cost-effective approach to habitat protection and restoration. (1, 3)
- Encourage tributary corridor restoration projects to address areas of highest priority. (1, 3)
- Participate in interagency projects that improve upstream fish passage. (3, 4)
- Restore connectivity of 1000 acres of coastal wetland to Lake Erie. (3, 4)
- Continue participation in the Lake Erie Remedial Action Plan to restore degraded harbor and nearshore habitats in Ohio's Areas of Concern. (3, 4)
- Participate in interagency development of ecosystem-level models to forecast impacts of disturbances and management strategies. (1, 2, 4)
- Incorporate risk assessment into decision-making processes, and endorse adaptive-management strategies. (1, 2, 4)
Please contact us for a copy of The Division of Wildlife's Lake Erie Tactical Plan
Other Related Tactical Plans: Ohio's State Management Plan for Aquatic Nuisance Species, Angler Recruitment and Retention Tactical Plan, Hatchery Tactical Plan.
To contact us:
Fairport Harbor Fish Research Unit
ODNR Division of Wildlife
1190 High St.
Fairport Harbor, Ohio 44077
Sandusky Fish Research Unit
ODNR Division of Wildlife
305 E. Shoreline Dr.
Sandusky, Ohio 44870
Division of Wildlife information: 1-800-WILDLIFE