Department of Geography and Planning

Department involved with responses to August 2014 Toledo Drinking Water Crisis

Feb. 22th 2015

Water Crisis
Dr. Lawrence featured on CBS Evening News

During and following the events in early August - when over 500,000 local citizens in the Toledo area were under a drinking water ban due to the presence of the toxin microcystin in the water supply drawn from the western Lake Erie basin where a large blue-green algae bloom had formed – faculty and their students from the Department of Geography and Planning (GEPL) were involved and engaged in public education and related research efforts.  

Dr. Lawrence was interviewed and appeared in the local and national media, including the 13ABC Toledo News, 11 CBS WTOL News, 24 NBC Toledo News, Toledo News Now, CBS Evening News, UT News, USA Today, Associated Press,  Toledo Blade, The Independent Collegian, 1370AM WSPD radio Toledo, and Lima News. He also participated in the public form hosted by the University of Toledo a few days after the crisis.  Here are a few links to some of these media sources:  

Dr Lawrence featured on CBS Evening News

Dr Lawrence quoted in USA Today

Toledo Water Crisis Panel

Dr Lawrence appears on 1370 WSPD radio

In late August 2014, The UT Interim President Nagi Naganathan and Office of Governmental Relations formed the UT Water Task Force led by Dr. Frank Calzonetti, VP (and tenured faculty member in GEPL) with twenty members of faculty including Dr. Lawrence, Dr. Neil Reid and Dr. Kevin Czajkowski.  The UT Water Task Force organized into four subcommittees with Dr. Lawrence chairing Law, Economics, Policy and Education (with Dr Reid as a member) and Dr. Czajkowski on the land use practices subcommittee. For more information and future updates on the work of the UT Water Task Force refer to

During fall 2014, when the Ohio Board of Regents called for proposals from Ohio universities and colleges for the allocation of $2 million in state funds to address various aspects of Lake Erie Harmful Algae Blooms (HABs) – which was the underlying cause of the August 2014 drinking water crisis - Dr Lawrence and Dr Czajkowski assisted in securing over $ 1 million in research funding for 2015-2016 from the state and University research grant support. Dr. Lawrence will work with colleagues from the Department of Economics at the University of Toledo and partners from the Ohio State University and Kent State to address stakeholder engagement, education and assessment of best management practices for farmland nutrients, which are a significant driver of Lake Erie HABs.  While, Dr. Czajkowski will collaborate with faculty from the UT Department of Environmental Sciences and Lake Erie Centre on examining nutrient source areas and solutions to runoff within the Maumee watershed.  Several graduate students from the MA Geography and SISS PhD program will be involved with various aspects of the research to be conducted by these projects.  

Both Dr. Lawrence and Dr. Czajkowski have over a decade of research experience, individually and in partnership, on a wide range of issues related to the influences of human land uses on water quality in the rivers and streams in the Maumee watershed and impacts to the aquatic ecosystem of Maumee Bay in the western basin of Lake Erie.  More information on their work can be found here on the Department website under Research and their individual webpages and c.v.  

For more updates and future research and education efforts by faculty and graduate students from the UT Department of Geography and Planning, check here on the Department webpage.

Last Updated: 6/27/22