Researchers Expect Thinner Lake Erie Algae Bloom

A satellite image shows a massive algae bloom in Lake Erie's western basin. Scientists have linked algae to water withdrawals, pollution, and farm runoff.(Photo: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)
A satellite image shows a massive algae bloom in Lake Erie's western basin. Scientists have linked algae to water withdrawals, pollution, and farm runoff.(Photo: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)

Researchers say the toxic blue-green algae in Lake Erie’s western basin likely will appear earlier this summer but remain less dense than last year’s record bloom, partly because of warmer, drier spring weather.

They say spring storms wash manure, fertilizers and sewage into waterways, providing the phosphorus that feeds the algae. This year, those storms have been less frequent.

University of Toledo algae researcher Thomas Bridgeman said stream-flow data suggest the algae bloom on Lake Erie this year will be smaller and thinner. He says there’s still likely a “sizable amount” of harmful algae on the bottom of the lake that could be easily stirred up and grow.

Massive algae blooms can be a deadly threat to fish and a turn-off for tourists.

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