Erie Vital Signs

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The EVS Environment indicators track four families of environmental factors with twelve individual data series for Erie County, and more than 110 data series in total once peers are considered. The goal is to include those factors that play a key role in the quality of life for Erie County residents in the area of the environment.

Most Recent Data

The pattern is mixed or inconclusive.

Some aspects of Erie County’s environment are doing very well or are improving. Commute times locally are far below those of the nation and our peers. Our amounts of solid waste generated and landfill additions are actually falling. Our beaches have far fewer health-related closures than our Great Lakes neighbors, and our number of green buildings is up dramatically this year.

However, there are some areas which clearly need attention. Erie has a relatively low percentage of public transit users (perhaps related to the low commute times) and our recycling programs have been less successful lately. And even the successes mentioned above are below the standards that we’d like to see, to reach true sustainability for the natural environment.

The bottom line is that, while some aspects of the local environment are good and/or improving, there are many others that still need serious work.

The Indicators

Air Quality

Water Quality


Recycling and Waste


The Environment Subcommittee

The Environment Subcommittee is responsible for identifying the key variables for this section of Erie Vital Signs, and for reviewing and evaluating the update information before it is posted to the EVS website.


  • David Skellie, Land Use/Economic Specialist, PA Sea Grant (Chair)
  • Gretchen Fairley, Director, Service Learning, Gannon University
  • Tom Fuhrman, Executive Director, Lake Erie Region Conservancy
  • Joseph Hudson, Watershed Specialist, Erie County Conservation District
  • Sr. Pat Lupo OSB, Neighborhood Art House and Benedictine Sisters
  • Anna McCartney, Communication and Education Specialist, PA Sea Grant
  • Carey Miller, Senior Director, Development, Western Pennsylvania Conservancy
  • Steve Porter, Coordinator, Northwest PA Green Economy Task Force
  • Brittany Prischak, Sustainability Coordinator, Erie County Department of Planning
  • Amy Jo Smith, Executive Director, Environment Erie
  • Karen Tobin, Environmental Services, Erie County Department of Health

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