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Environmental Professionals Network

School of Environment and Natural Resources


Our North Coast: An insight into Intergovernmental stewardship to improve Lake Erie from Ontario to Ohio

Mar 19, 2024, 7:15am - 11:45am

Photo button from a collection of different images from the EPN Jan Breakfast

Program Overview

Join this EPN event and dive into concerns and the planning and numerous efforts in place to protect and restore Lake Erie with the International Joint Commission (Canada-U.S. federal partnership), the Great Lakes Commission/Des Grands Lacs (two Canadian provinces and eight U.S. states), and agency leaders at the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. These agencies play a significant role in Lake Erie-specific Total Maximum Daily Load development and setting the Ohio Domestic Action Plan. These state strategies seek to integrate the role of watershed planning at the local level to reduce nutrients efficiently, including a distribution of the load reductions into Lake Erie through its diverse and varied tributary systems. This distinguished panel of experts will highlight how federal and state agencies work collaboratively to manage Lake Erie. Additionally, it will highlight how agencies work with regional academic institutions and the private sector.

The EPN, the Water Management Association of Ohio (WMAO) and the Ohio Water Resources Center (OWRC) are grateful for the Ohio Sea Grant program and Stone Laboratory for their support of this program. For more than 40 years, Ohio Sea Grant has worked to protect the environment of Lake Erie and the Great Lakes. With a strong combination of research, education, and outreach efforts, as well as partnerships with academia, governmental agencies and the private sector, Ohio Sea Grant works with the Lake Erie community to solve the region’s most important environmental and economic issues. Ohio Sea Grant is supported by The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) School of Environment and Natural Resources, Ohio State University Extension, and NOAA Sea Grant, a network of 34 Sea Grant programs nation-wide dedicated to the protection and sustainable use of marine and Great Lakes resources. Stone Laboratory is Ohio State’s island campus on Lake Erie and is the research, education, and outreach facility of Ohio Sea Grant and part of CFAES School of Environment and Natural Resources.

A two-hour extended (in-person only) session on managing Ohio’s North Coast through intergovernmental stewardship will be provided at the conclusion of this breakfast program. The extended session of the program (9:45 a.m. to 11:55 a.m.) will be worth 2 CEU and PDH hours. For more details on earning CEU and PDH hours, please contact Sarah Saylor, WMAO Administrator, at or 614-935-8471.


7:15 a.m. Doors open at Ohio State 4-H Center; Coffee served for in-person attendees. 

7:40 a.m. Breakfast buffet served for in-person attendees. 

8:00 a.m. Livestreaming service begins for virtual attendees.  

8:10 a.m. Tim Haab, PhD, interim director, Ohio State’s School of Environment and Natural Resources (SENR), provides welcome remarks, and John Lenhart, PhD, co-director, Ohio Water Resources Center, and professor, Ohio State's Department of Civil, Environmental and Geodetic Engineering, provides a special announcement about Great Lakes ReNEW 

8:20 a.m. Chris Winslow, PhD, director, Ohio Sea Grant and Stone Laboratory, Ohio State, introduces the intergovernmental stewardship process for improving Lake Erie.

8:30 a.m. Moderated panel discussion on managing the water, habitat, and fisheries of Ohio’s North Coast by Dr. Winslow, featuring:

Heather Stirratt, director, International Joint Commission

Erika Jensen, executive director, Great Lakes Commission/Des Grands Lacs

Teresa Seidel, director, U.S. EPA’s Great Lakes National Program Office

Josh Griffin, Lake Erie program manager, Ohio EPA

Eric Saas, H2Ohio Wetland Initiative program manager, Ohio DNR

9:10 a.m. Audience Q & A session for both in-person and virtual audiences.

9:25 a.m. Dr. Haab concludes the EPN Breakfast program component and provides an invitation to June 11 EPN Field Trip to Stone Lab on Gibraltar Island featuring science cruises and a tour of research laboratories and South Bass Island.

9:30 a.m. Livestreaming service concludes for virtual attendees. 

Transition to an extended educational program for water management. This in-person only session is open to all, including water management professionals and students seeking to further interact with visiting guest speakers and to enhance their knowledge of the intergovernmental stewardship process for improving Lake Erie and the Great Lakes water system.

The remainder of this program is worth 2 CEU and PDH hours and is intended for in-person guests only.

9:45 a.m. Welcome remarks by Cindy Brookes, senior rural development specialist, Rural Community Assistance Program at Great Lakes Community Action Partnership, and board president, WMAO.

9:50 a.m. Ohio water quality update from Heather Raymond, water quality initiative director, Ohio State's College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. 

10:00 a.m. Emerging issues for Lake Erie with Kate Bartter, executive director, Sustainability Institute at Ohio State, and board of directors, Great Lakes Protection Fund, Ohio Lake Erie Commission and Ohio Soil and Water Conservation Commission 

10:10 a.m. Heather Stirratt, director, International Joint Commission.

10:30 a.m. Erika Jensen, executive director, Great Lakes Commission/Des Grands Lacs.

10:50 a.m. Teresa Seidel, director, U.S. EPA’s Great Lakes National Program Office.

11:10 a.m. Brief break and networking session. Food and beverage catering provided in hallway.

11:15 a.m. Josh Griffin, environmental manager, Ohio EPA.

11:35 a.m. Eric Saas, H2Ohio Wetland Initiative program manager, Ohio DNR.

11:55 p.m. Program concludes. Concluding remarks by EPN and Ohio Sea Grant.

The extended session of the program (9:45 a.m. to 11:55 a.m.) will be worth 2 CEU and PDH hours.


Chris WinslowChris Winslow, PhD, director, Ohio Sea Grant and Stone Laboratory, Ohio State

Chris Winslow coordinates Ohio Sea Grant’s Great Lakes research with agencies and universities, as well as assists in research, curriculum development, and student recruitment at The Ohio State University’s Stone Laboratory. Winslow joined Ohio Sea Grant as assistant director in 2011, after having taught courses at Stone Lab and mentoring students in the Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program for eight years. He was promoted to associate director in 2014 and successfully took on the leadership of Ohio Sea Grant in 2015. Winslow holds a bachelor’s degree from Ohio University and a PhD in biology from Bowling Green State University. His research focused on invasive round gobies and their impact on smallmouth bass populations.


Heather StirrattHeather Stirratt, director, International Joint Commission

Heather Stirratt is the Director of the International Joint Commission’s (IJC) Great Lakes Regional Office. As Director, she is leveraging key partnerships across the basin to elevate attention to and implementation of the IJC’s water quality recommendations. By enhancing the IJC’s binational connections across Canada and the United States (U.S.), Ms. Stirratt is increasing awareness of regional water quality challenges, monitoring and forecasting gaps to inform policy decision making, and the requirements for new freshwater science investments. Ms. Stirratt has a diversity of non-governmental, county, state, and federal work experience. She joined the IJC with over 27 years of professional experience in coastal and fisheries management. Most recently having served for 15 years as the Great Lakes Regional Lead for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Office for Coastal Management. Ms. Stirratt has been nationally recognized for her contributions to U.S. fisheries management of highly migratory species by the Department of Commerce and NOAA’s General Counsel. Ms. Stirratt holds a Master’s degree in Marine Affairs, for fisheries management and ocean and coastal law, from the University of Rhode Island and a Bachelor’s degree in Marine Affairs from the University of Miami, Florida.


Cathann KressErika Jensen, executive director, Great Lakes Commission/Des Grands Lacs

Erika Jensen serves as executive director of the Great Lakes Commission, appointed in July 2021. As executive director, Ms. Jensen directs operations, manages relations with the Commission’s Board of Directors and Commissioners, oversees policy and advocacy efforts, and collaborates with the agency’s numerous partners to advance strategic regional priorities, among other duties. Prior to her appointment, Ms. Jensen directed the Commission’s aquatic invasive species (AIS) program. In that role she served as coordinator for the Great Lakes Panel on Aquatic Nuisance Species and Invasive Mussel Collaborative, and was the Commission’s designee to the U.S. federal Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force. Ms. Jensen has been a member of the Commission staff in various roles since 2006. She has a master’s degree in environmental management from Duke University and a bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University.


Seidel HeadshotTeresa Seidel, director, U.S. EPA's Great Lakes National Program Office

Teresa Seidel was appointed as chief of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Great Lakes National Program Office (GLeNPO) in 2023. The Great Lakes office is responsible for managing the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI), a well-funded toxic sediment cleanup and ecological restoration program. Prior, she had been the director of the water resources division at the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy since 2016. In that position, Seidel oversaw EGLE’s regulation of Michigan lakes, rivers and other surface water programs. Seidel received a bachelor of science degree in biology in 1990 and a master of public administration degree from Grand Valley State University in 1997. She worked previously at the Minnesota Department of Agriculture as an animal agriculture specialist and as a field operations supervisor within EGLE’s air quality division.

Seidel HeadshotJosh Griffin, environmental manager, Ohio EPA

As an Environmental Manager in Ohio EPA’s Division of Surface Water Josh provides oversight to Ohio EPA’s Lake Erie Programs as well as several permitting programs. Josh also served as the project lead for the Maumee Watershed Nutrient TMDL. The TMDL allocated point and nonpoint sources of phosphorus to address impairments related to harmful algal blooms in the western basin of Lake Erie. Josh has Bachelor and Master of Science degrees from The Ohio State University in bioenvironmental engineering. Josh has worked at Ohio EPA since 2012 and spent time in several programs in the Division of Surface Water, starting in water quality assessment and modeling program and then in permitting programs. He also has a certificate in Public and Nonprofit Leadership from the John Glenn College of Public Affairs.

Saas headshot\Eric Saas, H2Ohio Wetland Initiative program manager, Ohio DNR

Eric Saas is the H2Ohio Wetlands Program Manager for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). The H2Ohio Initiative is Ohio Governor Mike DeWine’s multi-Agency, collaborative water quality effort to ensure safe, clean water for all Ohioans. ODNR’s role within H2Ohio is to restore wetland ecosystems and similar natural infrastructure habitats and their capacity to reduce water pollution. Eric has been working for ODNR since December of 2019; prior to that he monitored the chemistry of Ohio’s rivers and lakes and modeled surface water quality for over a decade at the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. Eric is a Muskingum University and University of New Hampshire alum.

Additional Information

This event’s menu features sausage patties, scrambled eggs, potato hash, and fresh fruit salad, Coffee, hot tea, fruit juices and water will be served. There will be plates, cups, woodware, and napkins.  

We strive to host events that are inclusive and accessible to everyone. If you have a disability and require accommodations to fully participate in this activity, please reach out to Callia Téllez ( Requests made five business days in advance will generally allow us to provide seamless access. However, we will make every effort to meet requests made after this time frame. You will be contacted by someone from our staff to discuss your specific needs. For the virtual audience, a closed captioning option via EPN’s YouTube live stream will be available, as well as other accommodations as requested on the registration.

Masks are optional for all event attendees at this event, in accordance with Ohio State’s Safe and Healthy Protocols as of this date. In-person attendees will be expected to follow Ohio State protocols regarding the prevention of COVID-19 transmission. More health and safety information available on this Personal Safety Practices page

This program will be livestreamed on the  EPN YouTube page. Additional information on livestream connections are available to those who register as a virtual participant for this event. 

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