Western Lake Erie Basin Conservation Effects Assessment Project

CEAP projects assess how effective environmental conservation practices are at reducing the impacts of agriculture on the surrounding ecosystems to ensure that funding for these practices is distributed in a way that makes the most of available resources.

Maumee River Watershed Map

The Maumee River Watershed

The landscape of northwestern Ohio, northeastern Indiana and southern Michigan is marked mostly by agriculture, with farms of all sizes stretching across the Maumee River watershed and eyond. Agriculture impacts watersheds because runoff from farm fields – from rain or snowmelt, for example – carries with it soil particles and nutrients from fertilizers. When that runoff enters local waterways, the sediment and nutrients are carried downstream and eventually end up in places like Lake Erie, but local waterways are impacted by those contaminants as well. Suspended sediments make the water murky and can prevent fish from hunting for food effectively, and bottom dwellers like mussels prefer stony substrates rather than the fine clay surface created when sediment settles out of the water column.

Four Major Research Questions


Where do problematic materials like nutrients and sediments come from?


Where do problematic materials like nutrients and sediments enter the waterways?


How do they affect plant and animal life, both in the stream and along streambanks?


How can we reduce the impacts of nutrients and sediments on local streams and Lake Erie?

Latest Resources

Presentation: Objective 2: Predicting current biological conditions in Western Lake Erie watersheds

Objective 2 of the Western Lake Erie CEAP aims to develop models that predict selected riverine biological endpoints based on SWAT output variables and other relevant watershed and local catchment variables.

How does CEAP fit into broader conservation and water quality context? – Presentation

This presentation puts the project into a larger context, and relates it to the 2014 Toledo water crisis.

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