Lake Erie

PennFuture is expanding and amplifying voices advocating for the environment and residents of Erie. The Our Water, Our Future Campaign unites regional organizations to protect Erie’s most important asset: our water.

Erie’s abundant freshwater resources provide drinking water to more than 240,000 people, recreation for residents and tourists alike, world-class fishing that contributes $49 million to the regional economy, and an industrial resource that directly and indirectly supports thousands of jobs across the region.

Of the great waters that define Pennsylvania’s remarkable natural and outdoor heritage, Lake Erie is too often cherished — from a distance. While the region relies on Lake Erie and its tributaries to support its economy, including a $1.2 billion tourism industry, protections for these resources are generally overlooked and under-resourced. 

PennFuture brings together a diverse mix of organizations who represent Lake Erie’s various stakeholders. We are closing the gap between the Erie region and halls of Harrisburg and Washington, D.C., where the lake needs stronger advocacy. Through engagement of local communities, organizations, businesses, and elected officials, we are creating new capacity to address emerging threats to Erie’s environment.

A Common Agenda for Protecting Lake Erie's Watershed was released in December 2020. The report serves as a guideline for local and state policymakers to implement clean water and other projects that will protect, conserve and support Erie’s aquatic resources.

The agenda includes recommendations that will not only protect water quality but will also ensure a more equitable and just future for residents in the Lake Erie region. Our key recommendations involve:

  • Addressing Racism and Environmental Justice
  • Reducing Water Pollution and Flooding Due to Surface Runoff
  • Improving Resilience to Climate Change and Extreme Weather
  • Limiting the Damage Caused by Plastics and Fossil Fuels
  • Controlling Invasive Species in the Lake Erie Watershed
  • Addressing Legacy Pollution and Promote a More Sustainable Future
  • Increasing Collaboration Between Community Organizations, Businesses and Government 

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