State draws up plans to shield
Voluntary watershed proposals to be presented at open
By Sandra Svoboda
What happens dozens of miles inland can affect the quality
of Lake Erieís water, which is why state officials have
drafted plans for better development in the watershed.
The idea is promoting "balanced growth" - balancing
the needs of the economy and the needs of the environment.
Officials will present the plans later this month and
"It was a focus on trying to maintain or improve
the water quality in Lake Erie and the Lake Erie Basin
while also sustaining economic development and growth
within the region," said Scott Zody, deputy director
for recreation and resource management for the Ohio Department
of Natural Resources.
"It goes beyond the waterfront," Mr. Zody said.
"Water quality starts not at the shoreline but up
in the watershed, into the streams that flow into the
The goal is to reconcile plans for protecting the waterfront,
while allowing economic development. The plan would address
such issues as how much pavement is used in developments,
when trees are removed, and agricultural practices.
The draft plans, drawn up by a task force, will be presented
at open houses. The plans will be presented Jan. 28 in
Bay Village, just west of Cleveland, at the Lake Erie
Nature & Science Center, 28728 Wolf Rd. Toledo will
hear the same plans on Feb. 3 at the Ohio Lake Erie Commission
office, 1 Maritime Plaza. Both meetings begin at 7 p.m.
"There will be a presentation of what the Balanced
Growth Initiative is," said Jeff Busch, executive
director of the Ohio Lake Erie Commission. More information
will be available, and a number of the panelists will
be there to talk about the details of the initiative.
Feedback will be considered before the recommendations
are adopted, perhaps in March, Dr. Busch said.
While the draft recommendations have proposals for watershed
planning, partnerships, local and state government roles,
and implementation, officials stressed that they will
"The key to it is making a set of incentives that
are viable, worth peopleís while," he said. "If
the incentives are there, we think it would worthwhile
for communities and watershed to undertake the plans."
The specific incentives, such as allowing communities
to receive favorable consideration when applying for grants
if they follow the plan, will be developed during the
year, he said.
"These are just recommendations at this point,"
Dr. Busch said. "Thatís why weíre going through this
public review process to refine them and improve upon
Mr. Zody said protecting Lake Erie and promoting development
in northern Ohio are not mutually exclusive goals, "but
it will take some effort to make it happen," he said.
None of the recommendations will be mandatory for local
"Weíve tried to respect and recognized Ohioís strong
home rule tradition in that any program thatís going to
affect economic development has to be locally driven.
This is not something that can be a top-down or state
agency-driven program. Thatís not going to work,"
Mr. Zody said.