Mayor Hicks-Hudson now wants Lake Erie declared impaired

Green water in lake, Maumee River has prompted health advisories

By Ignazio Messina | BLADE STAFF WRITER
Published on Sept. 26, 2017 | Updated 3:00 p. m.

Toledo Mayor Paula Hicks-Hudson reversed course Tuesday and announced she would support the effort to get Lake Erie’s western basin declared impaired because of excessive algae.

The mayor made the announcement in Middlegrounds Metropark on the banks of the Maumee River, which was a blend of dark and near-florescent green.

The Toledo Lucas County Health Department issued a recreational public health advisory because of an algal bloom on the river in downtown Toledo. Two test results Saturday showed 1.8 and 11.8 parts per billion of microcystin in raw river water, both below the 20 ppb threshold the World Health Organization uses for avoiding all contact. City tap water, which is pulled from Lake Erie, was still safe to drink, officials said.

The bloom extended from the Anthony Wayne Bridge to Cullen Park, and advisory signs were posted at various access points.

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Algal bloom on Lake Erie thrives in September heat wave


While the algae bloom on Lake Erie continues to thrive in this warm weather, the scene along the Maumee River in downtown is looking worse.

Dr. Timothy Davis, associate professor of Biology with Bowling Green State University, has studied algae blooms all across the Midwest and even in Australia.

He said exactly like the bloom on Lake Erie, the bloom on the river is caused by the same factors: Excessive Nutrients, warm temperatures, and still water.

And with the current late September heat wave, as the river temperature has risen 23 – 25 degrees Fahrenheit and a dry spell that has completely slowed the Maumee flow down, it was a perfect storm for this bloom to grow.
When asked if the current dredging of the river could also be a factor, Davis said while it could have stirred up additional nutrients from the riverbed, there is no data to connect the dredging with the algae growth.

He said the bloom should be flushed out with a significant rain event.  And that once in the Lake, this river algae will not make the current Lake algae bloom any worse.

“The bloom in the western part of Lake Erie is so large and so massive, that even though we’ve seen the bloom in the Maumee, and that is somewhat rare or rarer that what we see out in the lake, it’s likely not going to impact,” Davis said.

And with microcystin levels above the recreational threshold, there won’t be many people swimming in the Maumee. But plenty of geese and other water fowl will be around the river.
Davis said prolonged exposure to the toxic algae could be dangerous to these animals, especially if they’re swimming in the more dense areas of algae scum.

But Davis said the fish population should be fine, as they swim through or under the algae. He also said eating fish caught in the river shouldn’t pose a threat to people.

The biggest threat to fish in the river is if the large algae bloom deoxygenated the water, but even then fish usually detect the low oxygen and move along.

Original Article (with video)

City watches for dangerous Lake Erie algae blooms

SEP 8, 2017

Originally published on September 7, 2017 5:14 pm 

For a city on Lake Erie, it’s the season for monitoring toxic algae blooms — and drinking water.

Harmful algal blooms continue to plague Lake Erie, threaten drinking water, fish, pets

The algae-clogged waters of Lake Erie's western basin at Maumee Bay State Park east of Toledo produced the growth of cyanobacteria and a toxin called microcystin that can be dangerous for people, birds, fish and pets.
The algae-clogged waters of Lake Erie’s western basin at Maumee Bay State Park east of Toledo produced the growth of cyanobacteria and a toxin called microcystin that can be dangerous for people, birds, fish and pets.(The New York Times file photo)

An algal bloom contaminated with toxic bacteria shocked Toledo in August 2014, poisoning the city’s Lake Erie drinking water and forcing the city of 400,000 people to drink bottled water for three days.

Three years later, scientists are taking action to stay a step ahead of the harmful blooms, monitoring the algae and bacteria from outer space, from land, and in the water, with a new arsenal of high-tech tools and research projects.

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