US Agency Predicts Toxic Algal Bloom In Lake Erie

NOAA Researchers Predict Possibly Toxic Algae Bloom on Lake Erie

Lake Erie algae outlook better than 2017, researchers say

Kasich and OH legislators have been considering tighter restrictions on farmers since the 2014 algae bloom caused Toledo to be without drinking water for three days.

The agency is developing tools to predict how toxic blooms will be. "This is much smaller than we had seen past year". Scientists had predicted last July it would be a seven out of 10.

"Considering the increased conservation and corresponding reduction in nutrient discharges that have already been achieved throughout the Western Lake Erie Basin (WLEB), it would seem obvious that farmers would prefer the carrot approach to implement the best practices for each farm, versus a one-size-fits-all stick approach under the Kasich order", she said.

There's a silver lining to this year's bright green algae bloom on Lake Erie. "The toxins in a large bloom may not be as concentrated as in a smaller bloom", the report notes. Typically, the blooms don't happen until late July into early August, when water temperatures reach between 65 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. It just means it started up earlier.

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Mr. Bridgeman, who came to the event as an observer, agreed that's plausible.

"We're all working on being able to model to toxicity", Winslow says, "so it's not just where the bloom is, or how big it is, but maybe how toxic it is".

"There's basically a certain amount of fuel out there for the algae now", Mr. Bridgeman said.

Lake Erie is experiencing an early harmful algae bloom of cyanobacteria that is expected to become larger than a bloom in 2016 but not quite as large as previous year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Thursday.

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Laura Johnson, Heidelberg University's National Center for Water Quality Research director, said this year's phosphorus runoff is consistent with past years that have had similar amounts of rain. An outbreak in 2014 contaminated the tap water for two days for more than 400,000 people around Toledo.

Ms. Johnson said she still believes voluntary farm practices meant to reduce phosphorous runoff promoted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Natural Resource Conservation Service, the Ohio Department of Agriculture, the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, the Ohio Farmers Union, major universities, and others really do work. Farmers have steadfastly resisted regulations saying the voluntary actions they employ are making progress in reducing runoff.

"They're effective, but there's not enough implementation", Ms. Johnson said.

Upon consent by the commission, the directors of the Ohio Department of Agriculture, Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Agency are ordered to recommend a rules package that establishes nutrient management requirements for phosphorus and all other nutrient sources.

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He said the bloom cost OH millions of dollars in lost tourism and recreation value, as well as water-treatment costs.

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