John Seewer, Associated Press9:31 a.m. ET June 26, 2017
Toledo, Ohio — Ohio’s environmental regulators who have pledged to drastically cut what’s feeding the harmful algae in Lake Erie will consolidate oversight of the work to make sure money is being well spent and research isn’t overlapping.
The proposal brought by Gov. John Kasich’s administration and approved by the legislature last week will put the Ohio Lake Erie Commission in charge of seeing that the state reaches its goal of a 40 percent reduction of phosphorus going into western Lake Erie within the next 10 years.
Both Michigan and the Canadian province of Ontario have pledged to make the same reduction, which researchers say will go a long way to improving water quality.
LANSING, MI — On the cusp of what’s expected to be another sizable summer algae bloom in Lake Erie, the state of Michigan has released a plan for improving the lake that critics say doesn’t do enough to reduce nutrient-laden runoff from farms.
The state calls the 23-page Domestic Action Plan for Lake Erie released June 13 a roadmap to help Michigan meet its joint pledge with Ohio and Canada to reduce phosphorus entering the lake by 40 percent over the next eight years.
Phosphorus runoff from farms, sewage plants and other sources of nutrient pollution is fueling disgusting and dangerous algae growth in the lake’s western end each summer. A toxin inside the blue-green algae can cause rashes, nausea, headaches and organ damage.
Michigan is one of several states in the lake’s watershed issuing action plans the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency expects to roll into a broader strategy to curb the harmful algal blooms, which turn the water green, slimy and toxic.
The 2012 Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement between the U.S. and Canada requires national plans be completed by February 2018. Ohio, which has the most land in the western basin watershed and the most coastline impacted by the annual blooms, is expecting to release its plan in October.
Trump Budget Blueprint Calls For Eliminating Sea Grant Funding
Wednesday, June 14, 2017, 1:55pm
By Elizabeth Miller
OSU researchers use the walleye in this freezer to test for microcystin, a toxin produced by blue-green algae. Elizabeth Miller/ideastream
A lot of attention has focused on President Donald Trump’s proposal to eliminate funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which doles out $300 million a year for various projects. But his “skinny budget” has other cuts — including the National Sea Grant program — that would also affect the region.
By Tom Henry | BLADE STAFF WRITER Published on May 19, 2017
DETROIT — Climate change, invasive species, and the impact of industrial chemicals are topics at the largest annual gathering of Great Lakes scientists.
The 2014 Toledo water crisis and western Lake Erie’s chronic algae problem continue to garner a lot of attention.
This satellite image shows the algae bloom on Lake Erie in 2011, which according to NOAA was the worst in decades. While much of the focus when it comes to algae is on the lake’s western basin near Toledo, a researcher says blooms may impact the rest of the lake more often going forward.
Jon Stinchcomb , Reporter , WKYC7:14 PM. EDT June 06, 2017
GIBRALTAR ISLAND – Researchers’ early forecasts are projecting a harmful algal bloom this summer likely to exceed the severity of last year in western Lake Erie, although there is still some uncertainty.
The severity of the blooms depends on the amount of phosphorus drained into the lake, most notably from the Maumee River during the loading season, which runs from March 1 to July 31, according to Laura Johnson, director of the National Center for Water Quality Research at Heidelberg University.
“We monitor the Maumee River as part of our tributary loading program, where we’re monitoring water quality at 18 different stations — at each one of these sites three times a day,” Johnson said. “Our technicians collect these samples every week and then analyze them for most of the major nutrients.”
For projecting harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie, researchers look at the levels of “total bioavailable phosphorus,” which refers to a combination of all dissolved reactive phosphorus and the portion of its particulate form that harmful blue-green algae can feed on to bloom.
In August 2014, toxins from algal blooms in Lake Erie shut down the city of Toledo, Ohio’s water supply, leaving half a million residents without potable water for more than two days. A new study co-authored by researchers at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, shows that a virus may have been involved in the crisis and suggests methods for more stringent monitoring of water supplies.
The more rain we have this spring, the bigger the Lake Erie algae bloom this summer — and it’s been a wet spring.
Algae blooms in western Lake Erie are primarily due to excess nutrients from fertilizer chemicals running off farm land. Some blooms can become toxic, shutting down beaches or sickening people and pets.
Rain helps phosphorus travel from farms to the lake through rivers including the Maumee in western Ohio – and tracking from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration can predict the size of an algae bloom.