Lakeside is committed to not only the preservation and beautification of our land, but also Lake Erie. The Great Lakes hold 20% of the world’s fresh water and provide food, work and weekend fun for tens of millions of Americans, yet they’re under threat like never before. Lakeside provides many ways to learn about this precious natural resource.

"All Hands on Deck"

On July 3, 2017, nearly 1,500 Lakesiders of all ages joined hands along Ohio’s Most Beautiful Mile for “All Hands on Deck,” an international organized event for communities bordering the Great Lakes to raise awareness for their protection. 

The event was held in collaboration with the Lake Erie Foundation, a new non-profit organization dedicated to sustaining and protecting the waters of Lake Erie. Lakeside has been selected as the official home of the foundation, and looks forward to the opportunity to work closely with them to protect Lake Erie.  

The event began at the Steele Memorial Bandstand/Gazebo with short speeches from Kevin Sibbring, Lakeside Chautauqua President/CEO; Sandy Bihn, Executive Director of Lake Erie Foundation; Jim Stouffer, President of the Lake Erie Foundation and Larry Fletcher, President of Lake Erie Shores & Islands.  

“Lakeside is one of 65 communities that participated in this event internationally,” said Sibbring. “We know that we are fortunate with what we have at Lakeside, but we stand to protect Lake Erie so that everyone can have clean, healthy drinking water.”

Fletcher provided attendees with statistics about how Lake Erie affects the local and state economies. According to a study done by TourismOhio, the eight counties that border Lake Erie (Lucas, Ottawa, Sandusky, Erie, Lorain, Cuyahoga, Lake and Ashtabula) contribute $14 billion in tourism spending in Ohio.  

“We all have our own reasons for loving Lake Erie,” Fletcher said. “I ask you to imagine what your life might be like without everything the lake provides you, and then I challenge you to do everything you can to protect those things.”  

Before the crowd was dismissed to begin lining Ohio’s Most Beautiful Mile, Lakesider Beth Sibbring shared 10 easy tips for supporting a healthy lake. Some of the tips included using a rain barrel to catch water for plants, turning off the sink when brushing your teeth, not using chemicals for lawn care and investing in reusable water bottles.  

“The best thing you can do is show up to events like these, and contact your representatives,” she said. “It’s so easy.”   

The Lake Erie Foundation

The Lake Erie Foundation (LEF), headquartered in Lakeside, is a 501(c)(3) organization established in 2016 to sustain and protect the waters of Lake Erie.

The foundation is the result of combining two organizations, the Lake Erie Waterkeeper and Lake Erie Improvement Association, which advocated for Lake Erie protection and improvements for many years. Leaders of these pioneering organizations recognized that a combined, long-term, sustainable effort would be more effective in protecting the entire lake.  

Their mission is to “create and maintain a healthy Lake Erie now and forever as defined by drinkable water, recreational contact and edible fish.”  

Lake Erie faces many water quality impacts, some of which were thought to have been addressed many years ago and others that are entirely new challenges. Some of the major issues are nutrients and harmful algae, invasive species, water quality and water quantity.  

The LEF is dedicating significant efforts toward addressing the nutrients and harmful algal blooms challenge. They have two major goals: (1) Establish an accountable Lake Erie Nutrient Reduction Plan and (2) Require that the amount of phosphorus in the soil for manure to be the same as commercial fertilizer.  

Your support for the LEF will help it:

  • Be a strong voice to help reduce harmful algae in Lake Erie now and to sustain its future.
  • Ensure a 40% nutrient reduction in the western and central Lake Erie basins by 2025.
  • Require manure to have the same phosphorus limits as commercial fertilizer (currently almost four times as much is allowed to place on fields).
  • Support technology that reduces nutrient runoff from manure, field tiles, ditches, wastewater treatment plants and failing septic systems to minimize nutrients flowing into Lake Erie.
  • Work with all Lake Erie stakeholders on issues that sustain and improve Lake Erie water quality and habitat, including efforts to address Asian Carp. 

In addition to supporting LEF, now is the time to voice your concerns. Contact your legislative representatives and urge for a strong Environmental Protection Agency and a well-funded Great Lakes Restoration Initiative to keep our water safe.

Visit the LEF Take Action page to provide your information and send a personal letter to Congress. For information about the LEF, contact or or visit