Lake Erie and water quality could be big topics in State of State address

Lake Erie and water quality could be big topics in State of State address

SANDUSKY, OH (WTOL) - Columbus is moving to a city on Lake Erie and that means a chance to highlight the importance of the lake and water quality.

Governor Kasich will deliver his State of the State address at the Sandusky State Theatre.

On Monday, at the Marblehead Lighthouse, local and state leaders announced the fishing outlook for Lake Erie for 2017.

But the State of the State event will be even bigger for the Lake, as the eyes of the state will be on this most important natural resource.

At the Monday event, fish and wildlife leaders predicted a fantastic fishing season, with walleye very abundant and plenty of yellow perch to catch.

Ohio EPA director Craig Butler expects Governor Kasich to make the fishing industry and health of Lake Erie parts of tomorrow night's address.

"He will have his heels in Lake Erie for a reason and it's again, to talk about his commitment to Lake Erie and water quality," Butler said.

About 2.5 million people still get their drinking water from Lake Erie, but on the recreational side of things, Lake Erie Charter Boat Association president Paul Pacholski said harmful algal blooms have to be conquered to make the lake the paradise it should be.

When asked if he wants to hear the Governor's plans for that, he said, "Yes, I do. Some of it has been announced but I think there's more hanging out there."

The Governor may also talk about President Trump's proposed cuts to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which pays for the biggest water quality projects.

Butler said he is concerned about the potential total elimination of the federal funding but added, "I say it's time to be vocal but also cautious we don't try to overreact."

Butler said he will be going to Washington this week to push for continued funding for Lake Erie. He compared it to a baseball game and we're only in the second inning of a long nine-inning fight for the win.

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