Press Release

Plan to Improve Lake Erie Water Quality Lacks Elements Critical for Success

Ohio "pollution diet" approved by U.S. EPA falls short

September 28, 2023

Chicago, IL (September 28, 2023)Earlier today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S EPA) approved the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed total maximum daily load (TMDL) for the Maumee River – the main tributary feeding the Western Basin of Lake Erie. 

The Ohio EPA’s proposed TMDL was developed in response to chronic algal blooms that occur due to excessive nutrient pollution from surrounding land use. Agriculture is a major uncontrolled contributor to these blooms. A TMDL lays out a  “pollution diet” necessary to meet water quality targets. The Ohio EPA was required to develop the TMDL per a recent consent decree. 

In response, Tom Zimnicki, the Alliance’s Agriculture & Restoration Policy Director, issued the following statement:

“The Western Basin of Lake Erie is a vital resource to the region. Despite millions of dollars of investment over decades, it remains plagued by chronic harmful algal blooms. A TMDL is an important tool in combating these blooms and the nutrients that feed them. However, in its decision, U.S. EPA has doubled down on the same tired, status quo approach that led Ohio to need a TMDL in the first place. 

As it stands, the approved TMDL does not address crucial elements needed to improve Lake Erie water quality. We remain committed to protecting and restoring Lake Erie for those who depend on it, and we will continue to advocate for stronger standards and programs in Ohio to address nutrient pollution.”


Media contact: Please connect with our media team at

More about Lake Erie’s Algal Blooms

Read background and recent updates about Lake Erie’s algal blooms.

Learn More