AU 2019-20 Environmental Lecture Series to focus on ‘Environmental Laws in Ohio’

11/01/2019 ASHLAND, Ohio -- The director of the National Center for Water Quality Research will open the 2019-20 Environmental Lecture Series at Ashland University on Thursday, Nov. 7, at 7:30 p.m. in the Ronk Lecture Hall of the Schar College of Education, 340 Samaritan Ave.

Dr. Laura Johnson’s presentation, "The effects of phosphorus management in the Lake Erie watershed from 1969 to today," is free and open to the public.

This theme of this year's series, "Liberty and Responsibility: Environmental laws and Ohio wildlife, natural resources and quality of life", is specifically intended to complement the AU College of Arts and Sciences’ biennial Symposium Against Indifference, an organized series of events centered on the Liberty and Responsibility theme and encompassing a diverse set of discussions across disciplines. The goal of this year’s Environmental Lecture Series is to engage with this theme through examples of the application of Ohio’s environmental laws and policies.

Historically, cultural eutrophication of Lake Erie was a major concern. Through efforts by the United States and Canada starting with the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, Lake Erie largely recovered by the mid-1990s.  But over the past decade, Lake Erie has been experiencing a recurrence of harmful algal blooms in the western basin and an increase in hypoxia in the central basin. The National Center for Water Quality Research at Heidelberg University has been monitoring major tributaries to Lake Erie for up to 45 years. This dataset helps us understand the progress made since just after the Clean Water Act of 1972, as well as informs best management practices for a healthy Lake Erie now and into the future.  

Johnson works on watershed sediment and nutrient export at the center, which is housed at Heidelberg University in Tiffin. Prior to joining the NCWQR in 2013, Johnson earned her doctorate from the University of Notre Dame and worked as a researcher at Indiana University in Bloomington. Aside from working with the long-term Heidelberg dataset, her recent research also focuses on examining the influence of agricultural nutrient management on nutrient export, and identifying sources of nutrients within watersheds that contribute to the seasonal harmful algal bloom forecast for western Lake Erie.  

Other speakers in the series will include Dr. Andrew May of The Ohio State University, who will speak on Jan. 23 about improvement the measurements of local air quality, and Megan Seymour of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, who will speak on March 26 about the impact of wind turbines on wildlife.

Support for the lecture series is provided by a grant from the National Science Foundation, donations from individuals and additional support from Ashland University. Past series have been supported by AU and grants from the Lubrizol Foundation, GTE Foundation, and the Fran and Warren Rupp Foundation.

Ashland University is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University ( values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students. ###