PA Sea Grant Networks in Erie - WICU12 HD WSEE Erie, PA News, Sports, Weather, Events

PA Sea Grant Networks in Erie

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Eighty-five representatives from around the Great Lakes are networking in Erie this week, as part of the Pennsylvania Sea Grant conference. The group has meetings like this about every 18 months around the basin of the lakes.
    
It's a chance to collaborate face to face on common issues of concern around the great lakes in both the U.S. and Canada. The representatives are talking about maintaining water quality for people and aquatic life.   They're sharing data from observation systems around the lakes, including the new weather buoy recently deployed off Erie.
   
The Sea Grant conference is also sharing the latest information on the harmful algae blooms that cropped up around the lakes last year.  "This is about the time we saw that last year," said Marty Martz, Sr. Coastal Outreach Specialist with the PA Sea Grant office at the Tom Ridge Environmental Center.  "June 26 we had the first reports of that last year, but this year we're far more ready, we've developed protocols for monitoring and testing so we're much more ready for it this year," Martz added.  Lake Erie is especially susceptible because it is shallow and because of the run off of nutrients from farms.

Delegates are also sharing information on how to keep boaters from moving aquatic invasive species from lake to lake or to inland waterways. The big concerns are zebra and quagga mussels, round gobies, spiny water fleas and the much discussed Asian Carp. Sarah Whitney, Associate Director of the Susquehanna River PA Sea Grant Office said there are steps boaters can take to help.  "The big key pieces are to check drain and dry.  Check around your boat and trailer for any clumps of organic material you may be carrying, drain bilge water, buckets...we want to keep any water where it is.  And drying your equipment up to five days, that will prevent species from being moved from one location to another," said Whitney.

The sea grant folks will be in town through Wednesday.
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