Darren Bade

Profession: Assistant Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Kent State University. Ph.D., University of Wisconsin.

Connection to the river and its parts: "My connection with Lake Erie has been mostly through research. I didn't grow up in this area originally, but I've been doing work on lakes for quite some time now."

"But recently now my research takes me to Lake Erie as well as some teaching. I take classes on field trips to Lake Erie."

Importance of the Cuyahoga River and Lake Erie: "I think Lake Erie is important from a few different perspectives. I guess for me, on a personal level, I enjoy being on the water, either boating or fishing, kayaking, swimming. And I think as a scientist and as someone who uses Lake Erie, what I often want to portray is while there are a lot of bad things happening in Lake Erie,...the lake is, at different times of the year very, very nice."

"The Cuyahoga is one of the larger tributaries to the lake. From an environmental perspective, the Cuyahoga is immensely important as the fires that burned on the water in the 60's gave rise to the Clean Water Act. Currently there are still environmental concerns in the Cuyahoga, such as toxins in the sediments near the industrial areas of the river, and problems of human waste discharge from sewage treatment plants. Recently there have been some success stories on the river as several dams have been removed creating a more natural river. The presence of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park is testament to the cultural and ecological significance of the Cuyahoga River."

The river or Lake Erie's significance to the planet: "For Cleveland, there's a huge significance, from very basic human needs. Suburbs get drinking water from the lake. It's a very key part just in our own survival in terms of providing drinking water. It also provides economic benefits. It provides shipping, tourism dollars. I don't remember specifics, but the economic value in the lake is probably in the billions."

Greatest or most recent accomplishment: "We've got a number of different research projects that are underway in Lake Erie. One of the things that we're looking at now is the cycling of nitrogen in the lake. Much of the research in lakes and the news we hear on lakes is regarding an amount of phosphorous that enters the lake and that is one of the key factors in determining the level of problems we're going to have in the lake."

Time spent caring for or researching the river or Lake Erie: "I've been studying Lake Erie since about 2008 or so, that's about when I came to this area and as I've said before, I'd done work on lakes previous to coming to Kent, but then I was mostly working on small lakes. In coming to Kent, I quickly realized the value in coming to Lake Erie in terms of its cultural and economic significance to the area."

First impression of Lake Erie: "I think maybe my first impression of Lake Erie was 'It's not as bad as I thought it would be.'"

Why I do what I do related to the river and Lake Erie: "From a personal level, I guess it just kind of is one of those things, everyone gets drawn to a topic in their life."

"I grew up on a river, I grew up at a time when environmental concern was at the forefront."

Favorite place along the river: "Most of my time is spent around the Lake Erie Islands. And that kind of stems from where our research has been focused and where some of the teaching I've been talking about takes place."