It has been reported that fishing and tourism groups want lawmakers to tighten water withdrawal limits for rivers and streams related to the Great Lakes Compact. Some say that tributaries of Lake Erie provide critical habitat for a number of sport fish species.
House Bill 473 (sponsored by Representative Wachtmann) introduces a package of revamped regulations related to the use of waters from Lake Erie. Among other provisions, the new bill limits withdrawals at 2.5 million gallons per day before permitting is required, with additional protections for certain rivers and streams. The bill also would create a study group to make recommendations "to ensure that withdrawal and consumptive use permits issued under the bill will result in no significant individual or cumulative adverse impacts to the quantity or quality" of the watershed, according to documents.
Ohio’s Governor Strickland signed legislation in 2008 ratifying the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact, which prohibited “with certain exceptions, all new or increased diversions of water resources.
Groups are worried that it could allow too much water to be diverted from tributaries, lowering water levels, hurting fish populations and potentially prompting toxic algae blooms.