Lets Get Eriesponsible
Eriesponsible is an organization started by a diverse group of individuals who share a love for the Lake and the bounties it provides but also a shared concern for its’ future health if the current situation goes unchecked. We are a 501c3, tax-exempt, non-profit, environmental charity, looking to not only do our part but make a cultural change when it comes to prevention, collection, and awareness of marine debris and invasive species in Lake Erie and our other fresh water lakes and tributaries. “Taking Steps Now to Maintain the Health of Lake Erie for Future Generations” is our mission and mantra.
We hope to achieve this with a three-tiered approach. The first tier involves education. We work to redistribute the more than sufficient educational materials provided by NOAA and Ohio Sea Grant and also pick up where they are forced to leave off and advocate on their behalf.
Education goes hand in hand with awareness, which is our send tier. We use any platform we can find to educate and spread awareness to as many people as we can reach. Utilization of social media and our website, along with physical interaction and our merchandise campaign are the methods we have found to be the most effective. Whether it is speaking to children in schools, crowds at Aquarium events, boaters enjoying the islands and marinas, or junior sailing groups we have been able to reach a large group of people in a relatively short amount of time and are always looking for more opportunities to do more. We have been able to stay financially solvent thus far as a result from the sales of our Eriesponsible merchandise, including hats, bracelets, clothing, stickers and clean up devices. Not only does this help support our organization but it helps to spread awareness when people see and comment on our gear and the subject of supporting the Lake comes up.
The third tier has to do with physical cleanup of the debris and invasive species that plague our lake. We are truly a hands-on organization and participate in the direct removal of these items. We clean up beaches, marinas, riverbanks and any other areas we or our partners and volunteers have red-flagged as areas that need attention. Last year we directly removed close to 1000lbs of debris that washed up on shore and so much more that was picked up indirectly by folks who did their own cleanups that they posted to our social media platforms. The cleanup efforts don’t just stop there though, we and our Eriesponsible Boat Club partners spend time on the open waters and in harbors and tributaries cleaning and doing removal also. This coming season we are also expanding into underwater cleanup and are working to organize volunteer SCUBA events to give the lake bottom the attention it deserves. Additionally, we have and continue to develop devices that will clean the lake passively or semi passively and have long term goals of autonomous robotic development in regard to finding a solution for microplastic removal.
The public response has been incredibly positive and we continue to be grateful for the support from individuals, marinas, and companies alike that have helped and will continue to help us grow as an organization and affect the change we feel is necessary to maintain the health of Lake Erie for future generations. We have already started to change the culture and wake up reenergized daily when it comes to the work we are doing for what we feel is an extremely important cause.
OUR PLAN OF ACTION
Of course, there are many things that can be done to work toward our goal. One of the most important of these is simple Prevention.
- Pick up your trash, everywhere, always. Make an actual difference and pick up someone else’s also.
- Eliminate plastic straws. Many restaurants are noticing they cannot only save money by not using plastic straws but it is also helping our environment by cutting down drastically on waste. Many straws and other non-biodegradable trash find their way into the lakes and tributaries where they damage the ecosystem and distract from natural beauty.
- Be careful when fueling or pumping waste from boats. There are devices that can also assist with this and we soon hope to have some for sale on the website.
- Providing education on what things have contributed to our current issues should help prevent future pollution and harmful algae growth.
- Our goal has always been to focus on cleaning up the many harbors and beaches in Lake Erie with a long term goal of expanding to all Great Lakes.
- We plan to sponsor “Beach Cleanups” with local schools and organizations. Our many waterways and wetlands will also be a focus of cleanup efforts.
- We are working in tandem with Private and Public marinas and harbors to not only clean up current pollutants but also to provide products and services that will further the effort long into the future.
- Improving the water quality of the beaches, marinas and harbors will automatically improve the cleanliness and beauty of the Lake overall. In order to achieve this we have coined “Quantifiable Cleanup”. Many groups are happy to take donations without necessarily showing results, this is not our goal. We will show, in pounds, how much waste we have helped remove from our Lakes and Tributaries, on an annual basis. We can only hope, someday, that we reach a point where adding up our contribution becomes too difficult to sustain.