TOLEDO, OH (WTOL)
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.