EcoTrack 11: Ohio governor signs Great Lakes Compact

Reported by Dick Berry
Posted by Kate Oatis

Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland has signed an historic compact to protect and manage the water in the Great Lakes. He did it while in the area to promote Fish Ohio Day, reports News 11's Dick Berry.

Those who fish are among those who think the compact is a very important development.

Bill and Margie Maloy are among them. They drive up from Chillicothe to Port Clinton pretty regularly to partake of Lake Erie's abundant fish population.

"It's a nice place to fish. Lots of people from our area take vacations and come up here all the time to fish and stuff," says Bill Maloy.

The Maloys help spur a $1.1 billion fishing industry along Lake Erie and create more than 20,000 jobs. Anglers support local hotels, restaurants, grocery stores, bait and tackle stores and other local businesses.

Most people in the area do realize how important Lake Erie is to our region.

"This is a great resource, a precious resource. We want to make sure the public understands we're all about protecting it and at the same time making use of it," says Sean Logan, Dept. of Natural Resources.

When Gov. Ted Strickland signed the Great Lakes Compact, he joined seven other states and the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec. The compact will prohibit piping and shipping Great Lakes water outside the system's vast drainage basin to other areas of the country.

Strickland believes the compact will be good for Ohio's economy.

"Industry will find Ohio increasingly attractive because we have access to what is so significantly lacking in many other parts of the country that are experiencing population growth," Strickland says.

At the same time, the action will help give anglers like the Maloys a reason return to the area to fish. The compact will also require the states and provinces to adopt plans to improve water quality, protect ecosystems and ensure that use of the water does not threaten its supply.

The compact still requires approval from Congress and the President to become law.