Man's Influence on Lake Erie
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Citation:The Ohio Journal of Science. v69 n2 (March, 1969), 65-70
Conversion of northwestern Ohio's Great Black Swamp to farm land during the last half of the nineteenth century had a profound, but scantily documented influence on Lake Erie. Silts, once largely filtered out by the swampland vegetation, were, with the destruction of that vegetation, carried into Lake Erie, where their effect in reducing light penetration has significantly altered the lake's biota. More recently a spectacular enhancement of plant nutrients, especially phosphorus, which has increased five-fold since 1948, has supported nuisance levels of plant growth. This plant growth creates severe oxygen depletion near the lake bottom and is therefore responsible for additional major and undesirable changes in species composition of plant and animal communities. The obvious solution to this problem is the removal of the plant nutrients from the waters before they enter Lake Erie. The "living filter" treatment, in which sewage-plant effluents are filtered through root zones of plant communities, seems most promising.
Author Institution: Botany Department, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Illinois
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