Shared from the 3/24/2018 Sandusky Register eEdition


Erie County streams show slightly better water quality


Register photos/JILLY BURNS

Volunteer stream monitors get a sneak peak look of the creek report cards Wednesday evening during Erie Conservation District’s chili dinner at the Erie County Fairgrounds.


ABOVE: Volunteer stream monitors and guests listen to the stream report.


TOP: Erie Conservation District watershed coordinator Breann Hohman talks about the condition of area creeks during Wednesday’s stream monitor chili dinner at the Erie County Fairgrounds.


The Erie County streams that empty into Lake Erie are still in pretty bad shape but showed a slight improvement in 2017.

Firelands Coastal Tributaries watershed coordinator Breann Hohman released news of water quality at Pipe Creek, Mills Creek and Old Woman Creek Wednesday evening during a chili dinner hosted at the Erie County Fairgrounds.

The spring dinners, hosted before the next round of testing, have become an annual tradition to honor the volunteers who take the water samples. The volunteers are among the first to get the results from the previous year.

Pipe Creek received a D+ for water quality, unchanged from 2016, with particularly bad marks for nitrates and phosphorus. But vital sign indicators such as pH, ammonia, temperature and dissolved oxygen received a passing grade, an improvement over 2016.

Mills Creek received a D, unchanged since 2016, with bad marks for nitrates and phosphorus. But it also received passing scores for vital signs, an improvement over previous years.

Old Woman Creek received a C. It received a C- in 2016. Most vital signs received passing scores.

Hohman told the group the watershed monitoring effort now has 10 years of data to look at.

The volunteers who attended Wednesday’s dinner included Barb Opfer, of Berlin Heights, who, with her husband Donald, was recognized as someone who has been a volunteer water sampler for 10 years.

Opfer said she was motivated after seeing a fish kill in Krueger Ditch, which feeds into Old Woman Creek.

“It was sad,” she said.

Opfer said she and her husband take samples monthly.

Hohman said all of the water samples are taken by volunteers standing on bridges above the streams.

“A bridge is publicly owned. We know that site is going to be available to us now and in the future,” she said.

Hohman said the program uses 24 to 28 volunteers.

A few volunteer slots are open. Anyone who wishes to volunteer may contact Hohman at the Erie County Soil and Water Conservation District, 419-626-5211. Monitoring starts in April and runs through November.

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