Steelhead Trout and Lake Erie Streams at Risk in Ohio
Despite the importance of small streams and rivers to steelhead trout, the Ohio State Senate is considering legislation that may harm Lake Erie and its vital streams and rivers.
Steelhead trout spawn in cold flowing streams, then migrate into Lake Erie for the summer before returning to streams in the fall through the spring. The small streams and rivers that flow towards Lake Erie are a vital part of a healthy ecosystem. These tributaries provide spawning grounds for fish, including steelhead trout, and are essential to maintain healthy water levels in Lake Erie.
Read more on The Current Battle For Lake Erie and the flaws with the bill under consideration in the Ohio State Senate in a blog post by NWF's Marc Smith:
Lake Erie Tributaries Left Unprotected
HB 473 restricts the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to only assess the impact of water withdrawals on Lake Erie--not the source of the withdrawal. Not only does this conflict with the Great Lakes Compact – which includes a preference for direct tributaries – it defies science and common sense. How are we to know the real impact of a water withdrawal if you don't analyze its impact to the source of the withdrawal?
No doubt this will have dramatic impacts on "steelhead alley" and potentially add to the growing problem of algal blooms in the western basin of Lake Erie.
Blocks Hunters and Anglers Rights to Lake Erie
The Great Lakes Compact states that any "Person aggrieved by a Party action shall be entitled to a hearing" in accordance with each state’s administrative procedures and laws. It further provides that, "after exhaustion of such administration remedies…any aggrieved Person shall have the right to judicial review of a Party’s action in the relevant Party's court of competent jurisdiction."
Yet, House Bill 473 changes the definition of "aggrieved persons" by limiting it to those who were issued a permit, or those who have a direct economic or property interest impacted by a withdrawal. This narrow definition of aggrieved person would take a step backward and essentially eliminate Ohio's citizen's rights to enjoy and recreate in Ohio’s Lake Erie Basin.