In 1969, a prominent British newspaper published an article on the death of Lake “Eerie”. In fact, the article was an obituary of a grand and noble lady who fell into an unwanted and tragic relationship with abusive and exploitive Homo sapiens and finally succumbed to relentless assaults on her health and integrity. The author was especially impressed that a tributary (Cuyahoga River) to the lake had burst into flames resulting in burning some bridges spanning the river at Cleveland, Ohio. He justly chastised us North Americans for being so uncaring about such a valuable natural resource.
In truth, the decline of the Lake Erie ecosystem had reached bottom in the late 1960s.The prognosis for the lake was indeed bleak; but help was on the way. Perhaps Lake Erie was fortunate in being proclaimed “dead”. The death-knell was an alarm call to environmentalists, the International Joint Commission, the Great Lakes Fishery Commission and the public who pressured policy-makers to provide support for research and remedial programs.
The progress of research on Lake Erie has been marked by several milestone publications during the long struggle to restore the system. The reports of the U.S. Federal Water Pollution Control Administration (1968) and the International Joint Commission (I.J.C. 1969) described Lake Erie in the depths of degradation. “Lake Erie in the Early Seventies” recorded the status of limnology and fisheries in the lake before remedial programs were implemented. State of Lake Erie (1999) described the state of the lake in response to remedial actions and at early stages of the invasion of dreissenid mussels. Checking the Pulse of Lake Erie is an update on SOLE under continued efforts at restoration and impacts from nonindigenous species. Checking the Pulse of Lake Erie contains 20 manuscripts contributed by almost 50 authors from a broad spectrum of disciplines and research interests.
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