Presque Isle Bay is a 3,655-acre embayment located in northwestern Pennsylvania on the southern shore of Lake Erie. The bay is 4.9 miles long, 1.8 miles wide, has an average depth of 13.1 feet. Presque Isle Bay is formed to the north by Presque Isle State Park and to the south by a 26.2 square-mile, highly urbanized watershed, including portions of Millcreek Township, City of Erie, Harborcreek Township, Summit Township, and Greene Township. The City of Erie, founded in 1792, grew around Presque Isle Bay. Like so many Great Lakes cities, Erie’s history and bayfront are characterized by industrial and wastewater problems. A transition of the city’s bayfront began in the 1980s, as it transitioned from an industrial-dominated zone to one of tourism and recreation. As industry began to fade from the Erie area in the early 1980s, environmentally minded citizens banded together with the common goal of restoring and protecting Presque Isle Bay. In 1991, their efforts ultimately lead to Presque Isle Bay being listed as an Area of Concern (AOC) under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. In February 2013, after decades of research and improvements to the bay’s watershed, Presque Isle Bay was removed from the list of Great Lakes AOCs. Despite being removed from the list of AOCs, ensuring that the health of the Presque Isle Bay ecosystem continues to improve remains a priority among the agencies, academic institutions, and non-profits working in the region.
News and Initiatives
- Presque Isle Bay Buoy The water quality buoy in Presque Isle Bay tracks the daily conditions of the bay and monitors for harmful algal blooms. The buoy, purchased by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection with Great Lakes Restoration Initiative funds, records temperature, dissolved oxygen, pH, conductivity, turbidity, blue-green algae, and total chlorophyll. The buoy is one of several buoys maintained by the Regional Science Consortium to provide information about weather and ecological conditions for boaters, anglers, swimmers, and researchers.
- Using Fishes to Assess the Ecological Health of Presque Isle Bay Researchers from the Pennsylvania Sea Grant College Program, Penn State University, and U.S. Geological Survey are currently assessing the ecological health of Presque Isle Bay by comparing liver, skin, and gonadal tumor rates within smallmouth bass, bowfin, yellow bullhead, and brown bullhead, and evaluating the occurrence of intersex in these species. For more information, visit the Pennsylvania Sea Grant website.