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Lake Erie Ecological Investigations 1980-2000


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Smith, S.B., Passino-Reader, D.R., Baumann, P.C., Nelson, S.R., and Hickey, J.T., 2018, Lake Erie Ecological Investigations 1980-2000: U.S. Geological Survey data release,


The Lake Erie Ecological Investigations (LEEI) dataset, housed at the Great Lakes Science Center (GLSC) was developed during a reevaluation of Lake Erie Areas of Concern (AOCs) from 1998-2000. These AOCs were recognized as such by the International Joint Commission (IJC) of the United States and Canada due to their severe water pollution problems. The dataset includes data from both the 1998-2000 reevaluation as well as data from other historical evaluations from the 1980’s to mid-1990’s for comparison where available. Data Description: Rivers and harbors of the Great Lakes have been impacted for decades by heavy industrialization, densely populated areas, and agriculture resulting in contamination, eutrophication, and physical degradation [...]

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QAPP.pdf 123.86 MB application/pdf
Smith_1998_SOPsFishSampling.pdf 33.43 MB application/pdf


Within the roughly 10 years between the historic collections and the 1998-2000 reevaluation of AOCs on Lake Erie, significant changes occurred at several harbors, tributaries, and AOCs, including the dredging of contaminated sediments, the diversion of industrial effluents, shoreline cleanup, the invasion of non-indigenous species, and the natural process of sedimentation. While several agencies have conducted investigations to identify biological resource problems and associated contaminated sediments, only a few studies have identified changes in the contaminant levels or impacts to the fish populations. This resulted in the need for the 1998-2000 data to reevaluate the "health” of the Lake Erie fisheries following the clean-up efforts and the invasion of the exotic zebra mussel, which may have altered the contaminant cycling in the lakes ecosystem. The 1998-2000 data was used in comparison with the 1980’s to mid-1990’s data, where available, to aid in ascertaining if remedial activities and contaminant reductions had been successful. Moving forward, this dataset establishes a foundational data source, which in comparison with future data collections, can be used to continue to monitor and determine long-term changes and trends to the Lake Erie tributaries, particularly changes related to reduced-contaminant input. In addition, the techniques established in this investigation for a reevaluation can be used by researchers and managers for long-term monitoring of the Lake Erie aquatic ecosystem.

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DOI doi:10.5066/P947B9FI

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