It’s Earth Day — the perfect time to check in with Pure Lake Erie, a web site that formed in response to the algae bloom that shut off Toledo tap water last summer. “We thought it would be a great idea to try and help the situation by connecting groups who are working on it,” says spokesman Anthony DiFrancesco.

  1. Is the algae getting worse on Lake Erie? If no action is taken, then yes, the blue­green algae will get worse. There are several projects that are currently working to heal the lake. You can read more about them and other projects on our official website. The cyanobacteria becomes worse in the hot summer months where the likelihood of a bloom increases.
  2. What can the average person do to improve the situation? The Ohio EPA website has a section called “make a difference” where it lists a number of things that can be done to contribute: recycle, conserve energy, use less toxic products and more.
  3. What will happen if the algae gets worse? If the algae gets worse, it is possible that Lake Erie will have to face yet another major toxic algae bloom similar to the one in August 2014. People may lose complete access to tap water again and have to rely on bottled.
  4. What can we expect on the lake this summer? Hopefully, we will be more prepared than we were back in 2014 and there won’t be a water ban. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has designed an early warning system to detect toxic algae blooms before they occur. The project cost $3.6 billion and it aims to protect Lake Erie from any contamination.
  5. What’s the good news? Typically the algae is not a huge problem throughout the rest of the year, and Lake Erie still provides some of the best water on the planet. Conditions will improve as long as phosphorus and possibly other chemical runoff is not going into Lake Erie.

Originally published: http://us2.campaign-archive2.com/?u=f404af5f1087c0317a090d67c&id=495e19aabd&e=580984d3dc

Robot fish to track real ones

New and improved robot fish will soon track live fish and toxic algae blooms in the Great Lakes.

Dr. Xiaobo Tan Image: Michigan State University Department of Engineering

This next-generation fish, going on its second year of development, is the third model built by Xiaobo Tan, an associate professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Michigan State University, and his research team.

“We have a deadline right now to have two of these new ones done before summer, probably May,” said Cody Thon, a research assistant and a mechanical designer of the robot. “There is an algae problem every summer in Lake Erie so it would be wise to bring them out and see what they can do.”

One prototype is already getting tested at the university’s Kellogg Biological Station on the Wintergreen Lake, between Kalamazoo and Battle Creek, Michigan, Tan said. Continue reading

Ohio governor signs new rules to help reduce Lake Erie algae

In this Aug. 3, 2014 file photo, the City of Toledo water intake crib is surrounded by algae in Lake Erie, about 2.5 miles off the shore of Curtice, Ohio. Ohio’s latest and wide-ranging response to the toxic algae in Lake Erie that last year contaminated one of the state’s largest drinking water systems will put a stop to practices that environmentalists have complained about for years. Now the big question is will it make a big difference. That answer won’t come for at least several years. (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari, File)

OREGON, Ohio >> Ohio’s efforts to slow the spread of toxic algae in Lake Erie will soon force some farmers to change how they handle livestock manure and require more testing for pollutants at the state’s largest wastewater treatment plants.

Legislation signed Thursday by Gov. John Kasich also will create a new state coordinator to oversee the monitoring, treating and testing of algae.

Continue reading