Lake Erie is a global treasure. The lake is home to thousands of species and complex ecosystems and beautiful sights and vistas. It is also the source of drinking water for millions of people. We often talk about the economic value of the lake in the context of tourism, recreation, and fisheries (commercial and sport). But behind all those facts and figures, we know there are deep personal connections to Lake Erie and that’s a huge part of what makes the lake so special.

On August 25, we want to hear about those connections and your Lake Erie stories! On our 5th annual #WeAreLakeErie day, we’re asking folks to post their Lake Erie stories on social media with the hashtag #WeAreLakeErie. By sharing a story with the hashtag, participants are automatically entered into a contest to win a custom Lake Erie t-shirt! 

promotional graphic for #WeAreLakeErie Day t-shirt contest

Why should I participate? 

In addition to the chance to win a cool new t-shirt, there are more reasons to take part. By participating in this virtual event, you’re helping to demonstrate that Lake Erie is immeasurably special and deserving of better protection. Despite the fact that Lake Erie is so important to our lives and wellbeing, it is under serious threats.

The latest State of the Great Lakes 2019 report shows that Lake Erie’s ecosystem is in poor condition, and the trend is unchanging. Climate change, invasive species, harmful chemicals, coastal wetland degradation, extensive loss of forest cover… The list of key issues threatening the lake goes on and on.

Harmful algae blooms are of particular concern and sometimes make the lake unswimmable and undrinkable. This summer we are seeing a milder bloom occur due to less rainfall and runoff into the lake as well as cooler temperatures. But the reality is that any bloom is a toxic bloom. And a heavy rain season and high summer temperatures will continue to be the perfect recipe for severe blooms to occur.

This is why we have no time to waste when it comes to saving Lake Erie. As the impacts of harmful and toxic algae blooms rage on, it’s more important than ever to make our voices heard. We must demonstrate our support for government action to address these blooms at the source. 

What will happen to Lake Erie if we don’t take action? 

Excess nutrients like phosphorus and nitrogen are washing off the land, mainly agricultural lands, and ending up in rivers and creeks that drain into Lake Erie. All those extra nutrients are fueling blooms. These blooms can become more severe with extreme rainfall and particularly hot summers. If the government plans to save the lake aren’t implemented quickly, the blooms could continue to cause damage to the ecosystems, communities, and industries that rely on the lake’s good health.

In February 2018, the federal and provincial governments released a joint action plan to address the problem. Unfortunately, since that time, the plan has seen little progress. We need to speed up the implementation of the action plan and invest in the solutions that will help keep excess nutrients out of the water. If we fail to act now, the long-term consequences of annual harmful algae blooms will continue to take a severe toll on the Lake Erie region. 

Join us in being a voice for Lake Erie 

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#DYK? Lake Erie is home to the southernmost point in Canada & the most ecologically diverse national park in Canada: ?Point Pelee National Park ? There's so much to love about Lake Erie! ? Show the lake some love & join us to celebrate #WeAreLakeErie Day ? ⠀ On August 26th, share your Lake Erie stories and thoughts about why the lake should be protected. Share with us using the hashtag #WeAreLakeErie and you'll be entered into a draw to win a custom “I Love My Lake” tee! ⠀ ⠀ Thanks to @envirodefence for hosting this incredible celebration! ? . . ?: @colormypath (check out their Instagram for lots of Great Lakes inspiration!) . . . . #lakeerie #pointpelee #discoverontario #adventuretime #adventureontario #ontario #nature #canada #naturewalks #ontario_adventures #mothernature #naturephotography #naturelover #findyourselfhere #naturegeography #ontariotravel #nonprofit #charity #canada #greatlakes #greatlakesguide #ngo #greatlakesguide #swimguide #swimdrinkfish

A post shared by Great Lakes Guide (@greatlakesguide) on

That’s why on Wednesday, August 25 we need your help to share stories about why the lake is so special and important. On Twitter, Facebook or Instagram make a post about your connections to the lake. Maybe it’s a place you go to enjoy kayaking or surfing. Perhaps you have a childhood memory of fishing or visiting the beach on Lake Erie. Maybe you’ve even made new memories with your own children. 

Whatever the connection may be, we want to hear about it! Use #WeAreLakeErie on August 25 to join in the virtual wave of support for this precious lake.


This is an updated version of a blog originally written by Environmental Defence’s former Water Program Manager, Kelsey Scarfone.