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Not giving up on Lake Erie

Register • Aug 25, 2014 at 5:10 PM

What do you do when the doctor says you’re not doing so well based on your physical exam or the lab results? It’s not the kind of news we really want to hear from our doctor at our annual checkup.


Our great lake isn’t feeling so well right now, if we are to base our physical assessment on what we’ve been seeing and analyzing. In fact, it’s rather concerning, but fortunately it’s not the end and we’re definitely not ready to give up.

Just like with our bodies, when we make better choices to improve our health, we have the authority and the ability to require better land management strategies be made. This is imperative if we are to restore and safeguard the health of our natural resources and, in particular, Lake Erie.

When we take our medicine and change our eating and exercising habits to improve our health and well-being, rarely do we see overnight success. Likewise, we cannot expect or demand immediate recoveries with Lake Erie, but we do have to start implementing effective measures now if we hope to turn things around soon.

I read somewhere it wasn’t really so much of an issue as to how many years we live; rather it’s the quality of living that matters — not the “years in life, but the life in years” Here’s another way to put it: What kind of a legacy would we want to leave behind? And are we going to be determined to preserve and protect a part of our natural heritage so our children and grandchildren will inherit it?

Ahead of us are going to be all kinds of programs, projects and resourceful tools that will most certainly enable us to achieve our objectives … in time. I am optimistic we can, and will, bring new life back into our lake and make her as beautiful and as healthy as she once was. Much of it will be as a result of the voluntary efforts and personal stewardship commitments made by many individuals. And I realize it might even take some legislative influences to fuel the necessary impetus for those a little less motivated or caring.

Wherever we live — on a farm, out in the country or within the city limits — we all depend on productive soils and clean water. Furthermore, all of us are responsible for their care and management. The quality and quantity of our natural resources are determined by our attitude and our actions — a big part of what defines us and prescribes the kind of life we will enjoy.

The proper stewardship of Earth’s natural resources and Lake Erie’s health will decide whether there remains a “geography of hope” for tomorrow. Let’s maintain a working partnership, between all landowners and land-use decision makers. Like I’ve shared many times over the years while working at the soil and water conservation district, if we will concur on the importance and make the commitment to take care of our natural resources, they will always take care of us, from farm fields and suburban surroundings, all the way to Lake Erie.

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