The Lake Erie Foundation (LEF) is Lake Erie’s advocate for economic sustainability, legal defense, education, outreach, and innovative sustainable technology. The Lake Erie Foundation was established to implement The Lake Erie Plan, an integrated, inspirational and comprehensive campaign to educate, empower, encourage, and hold accountable, federal, state, and local government officials, producers, and other involved stakeholders to implement the 40% nutrient reduction goals for Lake Erie. This campaign is a high priority for LEF through at least 2025. Please read our Plan for more details.

The LEF is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit established in 2016. The LEF was established by combining the Lake Erie Waterkeeper (LEW), established in 2004, and the Lake Erie Improvement Association (LEIA), established in 2011. Both organizations have been strong advocates for Lake Erie for many years. Leaders of both organizations recognized that combining efforts could be much more effective to protect the entire lake and better represent all stakeholders. Members of both organizations include groups of concerned citizens, business leaders and environmentalists. The LEF welcomes membership from both LEW and LEIA and is expanding our leadership to represent a broader, lake-wide geographic focus. We invite interested citizens, property owners, fishermen, boaters, and businesses to join our mission. While work is underway among various agencies and organizations to restore and protect our lake, the LEF is the only organization whose sole mission is to ensure a healthy Lake Erie. LEF targets membership and support from those who live and do business in the Lake Erie watershed. We work with other Great Lakes nonprofits to address the many challenges facing Lake Erie.

The LEF is broadly modeled after the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, which played a leading role in addressing nutrients in the bay. Since 1983, nutrient loading was cut in half through best management practices on farmland resulting in oyster and crab reproduction returning. There are also ongoing wastewater treatment plant improvements.

For more information on U.S. EPA’s involvement in helping to reduce nutrients in Chesapeake Bay, please visit: http://www.cbf.org/. Lake Erie deserves a similar approach and level of commitment from U.S. EPA.


Photos provided by John E. Rees