DALE BOWMAN 08/28/2016, 07:36am
Stone Laboratory is both a place of serious research and a place of beauty on Gibraltar Island on Lake Erie, which includes Perry’s Lookout.
Credit: Dale Bowman
PUT-IN-BAY, Ohio–You gotta have a Lab for your HAB.
Good thing Lake Erie has Stone Laboratory, oldest freshwater biological field station in the United States (1929).
Credit: Dale Bowman
What first caught my attention about Stone Lab had nothing to do with science. While fishing for smallmouth bass about 15 years ago off South Bass Island, I was drawn to a small island (Gibraltar) with a barely visible mansion (Jay Cooke Mansion). Small islands pull at me.
But Stone Lab is more than scenic, though it is, including a natural arch, “Eye of the Needle,’’ and Perry’s Lookout from the Battle of Lake Erie. As a campus for Ohio State University and site for Ohio Sea Grant studies, Stone Lab has been central to much Great Lakes research.
That research assumed more than scholarly importance when Harmful Algal Blooms (HAB) rocketed into international news with toxins shutting off drinking water to 400,000 in the Toledo area in 2014.
I jumped at the chance for a two-day conference there, focused on HAB, earlier this month.
Published on Jul 19, 2016
Officials estimate the Lake Erie algae bloom will be smaller in 2016. (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari, File)
Southwestern Ontario farmers are taking the first steps to discover how phosphorus that fuel Lake Erie’s annual algae bloom could be reduced to levels that don’t cover the lake in slime. It’s a small step, but one that could pave the way for larger reductions in Canada—and possibly show how to shrink the much larger volume of phosphorus runoff from farms on the American side of the border, particularly around the Maumee River in Michigan.
In a report released this month, U.S. government officials and state academics estimate the harmful algae bloom in the western basin of Lake Erie will be smaller in 2016 than in previous years. That’s welcome news after the summer of 2014 saw a bloom large enough that it threatened the water supply for Toledo, Ohio.
Reducing harmful algal blooms, red tides, and dead zones throughout Louisiana, America, and the World
In 2016, Charles Marsala, Louisiana Senate candidate, hosted Earth Fest in Jefferson Parish, La. After learning about the 6,000-square-mile “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico along Louisiana’s coast, he felt it was time for action. The State has been studying the Gulf Dead Zone since 1983 with a great staff of scientists, but little legislation or political activity has transpired to reduce the size of the Dead Zone.
Two years ago, Marsala, former Mayor of Atherton, Calif., designed a wildlife television show based on the 1970s classic Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom. He added discussion of endangered species and waterway issues. The show, Awesome Wildlife Effort, airs on public broadcasting, and individual segments are listed on his YouTube channel, AWE News. An episode focused on harmful algal blooms, or HABs, was nominated for a regional Emmy award.
Growing up near Like Pontchartrain, Marsala remembers warnings at the lake, prohibiting swimming in the 1970s. Since then, the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation has restored the lake, but little has been done to reduce the Dead Zone or the HAB in the Gulf. Both phenomenons occur not only along the Gulf Coast but in more than 500 areas worldwide.