Land use decisions, nutrient inputs, natural resource use and disturbance, chemical and biological contaminants, and non-native invasive species all pose a threat to the 508-square mile Pennsylvania Lake Erie watershed.
In response to these threats, Pennsylvania Sea Grant and its collaborators used an integrated water resources management (IWRM) framework to develop the Pennsylvania Lake Erie Watershed Integrated Water Resources Management (PALE IWRM) Plan. IWRM is a method for understanding, identifying, and prioritizing actions to restore and protect watersheds, and serves as a tool for putting an array of information from different disciplines together with the goal of making existing water planning, management, and decision-making more rationale and efficient.
The PALE IWRM Plan summarizes and provides data to support informed decision-making regarding the management of water resources and guides users to the areas in the watershed where restoration, conservation, and/or monitoring projects are needed. Specifically, the PALE IWRM Plan summarizes existing regulatory, management, and monitoring programs; summarizes existing watershed plans; inventories available data related to natural resources, permitted facilities and discharges, ecological systems, recreation and public access opportunities, and real-time data; and provides a series of maps and tables that highlight the information that was collected. Integrating this information offers a clearer picture of what we know and can be used to make more informed choices and decisions regarding the management of water resources within the Pennsylvania Lake Erie watershed.