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Ohio Lake Erie Commission offers new Lake Erie design

The Ohio Lake Erie Commission (OLEC) announced a new Lake Erie license plate design that became available on July 1 from the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles. The new design features a life ring with the words “Lake Erie” on it. Inside the life ring are birds in flight on a backdrop of a sunset and lake waves. The Marblehead Lighthouse plate, by Ohio artist Ben Richmond, will continue to be offered along with the new plate design.

“The Commission introduced the new design to offer a new way for Ohioans to connect with Lake Erie,” said Gail Hesse, executive director of the Ohio Lake Erie Commission.  “Both of the Lake Erie license plates support research and on-the-ground projects that protect and restore Ohio’s Great Lake.”

Purchasing Lake Erie license plates supports the Lake Erie Protection Fund, which provides grant money for projects that protect, preserve and restore Lake Erie and its watershed. The fund also accepts donations, though the majority of its money comes from license plate sales. When Ohioans pay $25 for one of the Lake Erie plates, $15 goes into the fund.

“The Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles specialty plates program is vitally important to the state. Lake Erie is an invaluable resource and we hope this new design appeals to Ohioans that care about it,” said Jamie Bryan, assistant registrar, Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

OLEC grants

OLEC was established for the purpose of preserving Lake Erie's natural resources, protecting the quality of its waters and ecosystem and promoting economic development in the region. The director of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency serves as the commission's chairman. Additional members include the directors of the state departments of Transportation, Health, Development, Agriculture and Natural Resources.

During the Ohio Lake Erie Commission quarterly meeting that was held Wednesday, June 19, at the NASA Plumbrook Station in Sandusky, the committee discussed what organizations would receive grant money from the sales of the license plates. There were five grants approved that fit the criteria for preserving, protecting and promoting the life of Lake Erie. 

The study for isolation of microcystin degrading bacteria presented by Kent State University was approved. This study is exploring ways to sustain drinking water. 

The creating sustainable development in an inner city neighborhood grant presented by Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center was approved. This grant aims to find ways to reduce vacant lot cost and to restore soil in inner city areas. 

The impact of urban river restoration on fish communities that was presented by the University of Toledo was approved. 

The Sandusky River storm water reduction grant was approved. This grant is aimed to reduce and manage storm water. The Balanced Growth grant was approved for Big Creek Watershed. This grant is a storm water retrofit implementation project. 

Asian Carp

Dr. Patrick Kocovsky of the United States Geological Survey made a presentation on Asian carp. Kocovksy discussed the attraction, detection, exclusion and removal of Asian carp from our ecosystem. The silver carp was added to the Injurious Species List in 2007 and the bighead carp was added in 2010. Both of these species are found in the environmental DNA around our area. 

The theme throughout the meeting was partnership and collaboration as being the key to implementation and success. All the departments are working hard to work together to keep Lake Erie an important, vital resource in our community.

This article is part of The Beacon’s ongoing series on the Healing of Lake Erie.

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