Improving Lake Erie's Water Quality


Kent State Professor Collaborates With NASA Glenn and University Researchers to Study, Improve Lake Erie’s Water Quality

The conditions in Lake Erie continue to pose several health risks to Ohioans in coastal communities, making it difficult to maintain good water quality for citizens, state and local policymakers.

Working in Sandusky Bay, Kent State University doctoral student Chris Boehler collects surface reflectance measurements with an ASD Spectroradiometer, an instrument that can measure the energy reflected off the lake surface, in collaboration with Kent State Geology Professor Joseph Ortiz, Ph.D. (Photo credit: Sunny Dickerson, Bowling Green State University)A recent publication in Frontiers in Marine Science shows how researchers in the Great Lakes region are working toward innovative solutions. John Lekki, Ph.D., NASA Glenn Research Center’s principal investigator, in collaboration with co-investigators from local universities including Kent State University won a NASA water quality proposal in June 2017. This recent grant offers an opportunity to implement Kent State’s approach to identifying harmful algal blooms in and around Lake Erie. 

Joseph Ortiz, Ph.D., a professor of geology in Kent State’s College of Arts and Sciences, is a seasoned veteran at studying the problems posed by cyanobacterial harmful algal blooms (cyanoHABs) that have plagued Lake Erie towns and cities for years. Dr. Ortiz is the lead author of the journal article titled “Intercomparison of Approaches to the Empirical Line Method for Vicarious Hyperspectral Reflectance Calibration” published recently. Dr. Ortiz is a co-investigator on the grant from NASA that will allow him and his colleagues at several institutions in Ohio and Michigan to apply what they have learned from studying Lake Erie’s waters. This is part of a large collaborative study, which covers the waters of the western basin of Lake Erie from Maumee Bay to the Detroit Plume and Sandusky Bay.

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Image via Sunny Dickerson, Bowling Green State University