Jump to main content.


Lake Erie Binational Site

about PDF Files

Exit disclaimer

Great Lakes Lakewide Management Plans (LaMPS)

back to index

Lakewide Management Plans

Lake Erie Binational Site

Glossary

alewife - a small silver-colored fish that is not native to Lake Erie.

ambient - untreated lake water.

anoxia - a condition where water is without or has very low levels of dissolved oxygen.

anthropogenic - of man-made origin, not occurring naturally.

areas of concern - specific areas of 42 tributaries to or bays in the Great Lakes where degraded environmental conditions have created an impairment to human or ecological use of the water body.

beneficial uses - uses of Lake Erie that are valued by society, such as water quality that is suitable for drinking, swimming, agricultural, and industrial uses; healthy fish and wildlife populations which support a broad range of subsistence, sport, and commercial uses; and aesthetics. The first stage of LaMP development focuses on impairments to specific beneficial uses that are listed in the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement.

benthos - bottom-dwelling aquatic plants and animals.

bioaccumulation - the net accumulation of a substance by an organism as a result of uptake from all environmental sources. As an organism ages, it can accumulate more of these substances, either from its food or directly from the environment. Bioaccumulation of a toxic substance has the potential to cause harm to organisms, particularly to those at the top of the food chain.

burrowing mayflies - bottom-dwelling burrowing Mayfly larvae,(Hexagenia) are indicators of high water quality. In the 1950s, Mayflies were wiped out in Lake Erie due to poor water quality. Low numbers of mayflies are an indicator of low amounts of dissolved oxygen. Also called Canadian soldiers, June bugs, fish flies.

carcinogen - something that causes cancer.

Ceriodaphnia - type of cladoceran. Helpful in bioassay studies to determine chemical water quality standards for NPDES permits.

chlordane - used as a pesticide until banned by the U.S. in 1983 (except for use in controlling underground termites). Chlordane can accumulate in fish and wildlife tissue and is suspected to be a carcinogen.

chlorophyll a - the pigment that makes plants and algae green. Measurement of chlorophyll a is used to determine the quantity of algae in the water.

Cladocerans/Copepods - zooplankton that together make up a major component of the zooplanktonic community. They live in the water column and eat phytoplankton, serving as a link between plants and fish.

Cladophora - a long filamentous type of green algae that attaches to hard surfaces, particularly near the shoreline. Abundant growth is an indicator of phosphorous enrichment.

confined disposal facility - a facility built specifically for the disposal of dredged sediment. Often referred to by the acronym CDF.

critical pollutants - substances that persist in Lake Erie waters or bioaccumulate in organisms living in or near Lake Erie waters, at levels that cause or are likely to cause impairments of beneficial uses.

diatoms - group of microscopic algae that have rigid cell walls composed of silica. They are an important part of the food chain.

dioxins - unwanted chemical byproducts of incineration and some industrial processes that use chlorine. Dioxins can accumulate in fish and wildlife and are suspected human carcinogens.

dissolved oxygen - the amount of oxygen measured in the water.

ecosystem - the complex of a living community and its physical and chemical environment, functioning together as a unit in nature, with some inherent stability.

ecosystem approach - the integration of water quality management and natural resources management, across jurisdictional boundaries (State, Provincial, and Federal), in order to protect and restore the beneficial uses of the Lake Erie ecosystem.

ecosystem indicators - measures of progress towards meeting ecosystem objectives. Indicators can range in type from administrative measures of activities such as number of permits issued, to environmental measures such as water chemistry or fish populations.

ecosystem objectives - statements describing the desired conditions within an ecosystem, to be attained and maintained (such as: "clean drinking water"). These statements can include specific descriptions of the desired state of the biological, chemical, and physical components of the ecosystem.

embayment - an area of water protected by land forming a bay such as Maumee Bay.

environmental stressors - factors which cause, or have the potential to cause, impairments of beneficial uses of Lake Erie. These factors include chemical, physical, or biological influences on the Lake Erie ecosystem, as well as management practices.

eutrophic - the state of a well-nourished, productive lake that typically exhibits low levels of dissolved oxygen.

eutrophication - the process by which a lake becomes rich in dissolved nutrients and deficient in oxygen, occurring either as a natural stage in lake maturation or artificially induced by human activities such as the addition of fertilizers and organic wastes from runoff.

Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement - an agreement signed in 1978 by the United States and Canada and amended in 1987. Its purpose is to restore and maintain the chemical, physical and biological integrity of the waters of the Great Lakes Basin ecosystem.

International Joint Commission - commission established by the Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909, consisting of representatives from both the United States and Canada. The Commission's role is to oversee activities common to the borders of the two countries, including water quality in the Great Lakes.

lake effect zone - the area within the tributary where the water of Lake Erie and the river are mixed. This is typically the point at which the tributary reaches lake level.

The distance of the lake effect zone for every river is different. The following is the distance, in miles, of the lake effect zone for each Ohio tributary to Lake Erie: Ottawa River 6.8; Maumee River 14.8; Crane Creek 2.9; Turtle Creek 5.6; Toussaint River 10.0; Portage River 15.7; Muddy Creek 5.2; Sandusky River 15.4; Huron River 4.6; Old Woman Creek 1.3; Vermilion River 1.5; Black River 4.1; Rocky River 0.5; Cuyahoga River 4.5; Chagrin River 0.9; Grand River 3.3; Ashtabula River 1.8; and Conneaut Creek 1.2.

lead - a heavy metal that may be hazardous to health if breathed or swallowed. Lead can bioaccumulate in fish and wildlife.

Leptodiaptomus sicilis - type of copepod.

Limnocalanus macrurus - type of copepod.

loadings - the amount of pollutants being discharged or deposited into the lake.

macroinvertebrates - animals without backbones ("invertebrates") that are large enough to be seen with the naked eye ("macro"). Examples of macroinvertebrates include: crayfish, snails, clams, aquatic worms, leeches, and the larval and nymph stages of many insects, including dragonflies, mosquitoes, and mayflies. Macroinvertebrates are excellent indicators of water quality because they cannot move to a different section of water if the water they are in is uninhabitable.

mercury - a heavy metal that is a neurotoxin that is toxic if breathed or ingested at sufficiently high concentrations. Because of its common use, mercury is released during garbage incineration and through the combustion of fuels such as coal and wood for energy production. Mercury readily bioaccumulates in all aquatic organisms.

mesotrophic - the state of a lake that is in between eutrophic and oligotrophic.

microcystin - a naturally-occurring, potent liver toxin produced by Microcystis.

Microcystis - a form of blue-green algae that produces microcystin, a potent liver toxin

Milbrink index - a trophic index based on the composition and abundance of oligochaetes (worms) that live in the sediment.

Mysis relicta - shrimp found primarily in the Great Lakes. A primary food source for Lake Trout.

neurotoxin - a substance that is known or suspected to be poisonous to nerve tissue.

nitrogen to phosphorus ratio - nitrogen and phosphorus are both nutrients. The ratio that exists between the two can affect the composition or community of algal species that live in the water.

oligotrophic - the state of a poorly-nourished, unproductive lake that is commonly oxygen rich and low in turbidity.

omnivorous fish - fish, such as carp, that eat both plants and animals and are tolerant of poor water conditions.

PAH - polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbon. A petroleum or coal combustion by-product often associated with elevated levels of tumors in fish.

PCBs - polychlorinated biphenyls. A group of toxic, persistent chemicals used in transformers and capacitors. They often accumulate in sediments, fish, and wildlife and have been associated with health problems.

phytoplankton - plant microorganisms that float in the water, such as certain algae.

public health advisories - fish consumption advisories are applicable to sport fish and are recommended consumption levels to protect human health. The choice of which fish to consume, how frequently, how much, and how to prepare the fish for consumption remains the choice of the individual consumer. In contrast, commercial fish restrictions are enforceable standards that are mandatory.

Remedial Action Plan - a remediation plan being developed for each of the Areas of Concern. Often referred to as a RAP, its purpose is to restore all beneficial uses to the iver under study.

secchi disk - a black and white patterned disk used to measure the clarity of water in visibility distance.

soluble reactive phosphorus - the part of total phosphorus that is used by plants and algae.

total phosphorus - the total concentration of phosphorus found in the water. Phosphorus is a nutrient and acts as a fertilizer, increasing the growth of plant life such as algae.

trophic - status characterization of the condition of a body of water as eutrophic, oligotrophic or mesotrophic. Indicators or certain characteristics of a lake are used to measure the productivity of a lake. Indicators can be chemical, physical or biological in nature.

zooplankton - animal microorganisms that float in the water.

 



Jump to main content.