Quantcast

Harmful Algal Blooms Predicted for Lake Erie, Says NOAA

Summer is here and that means it’s toxic algae season for Lake Erie. Harmful algal blooms have been making the lake green around the gills for the past several years. Last August, the cyanobacteria even contaminated Toledo's drinking water, leaving more than 400,000 people high and dry for two days.

A satellite image of the 2011 bloom, the worst in recent years. Photo Credit: MERIS/ESA

Scientists from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration say this summer will be another doozy. The agency’s seasonal forecast predicts that 2015 could be the second-worst year on record after 2011’s whopper. The bloom is likely to hit 8.7 out of 10 on the severity index, with a possible range between 8.1 and 9.5. (FYI, anything above 5 is considered particularly concerning).

“Last summer’s Toledo water crisis was a wake-up call to the serious nature of harmful algal blooms in America’s waters,” said Jeff Reutter, Ph.D., senior advisor to, and former director of, The Ohio State University’s Sea Grant program and Stone Laboratory. “This forecast once again focuses attention on this issue, and the urgent need to take action to address the problems caused by excessive amounts of nutrients from fertilizer, manure and sewage flowing into our lakes and streams.”

The blooms happen when heavy rains wash fertilizer, manure and sewage into our waterways. All that phosphorus has a Popeye-like effect on the algae, which reproduces rapidly, producing toxins that threaten swimmers. And when the bloom begins to decompose, it can suck the oxygen out of the water, killing aquatic life. Dead zones are no day at the beach, but we know how to help prevent them.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE 

Pro Surfer Kelly Slater Launches Clothing Line Made From Ocean Trash

High Levels of Radium Found in PA Stream Near Drinking Water Supply

8 Major Cities Running Out of Water

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Pexels

By Marlene Cimons

Scientist Aaswath Raman long has been keen on discovering new sources of clean energy by creating novel materials that can make use of heat and light.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By SaVanna Shoemaker, MS, RDN, LD

The aloe vera plant is a succulent that stores water in its leaves in the form of a gel.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Attendees seen at the Inaugural Indigenous Peoples Day Celebration at Los Angeles Grand Park on Oct. 8, 2018 in Los Angeles. Chelsea Guglielmino / Getty Images

By Malinda Maynor Lowery

Increasingly, Columbus Day is giving people pause.

Read More Show Less
Westend61 / Getty Images

By Brianna Elliott, RD

Hunger is your body's natural cue that it needs more food.

Read More Show Less
Young activists and their supporters rally for action on climate change on Sept. 20 in New York City. Drew Angerer / Getty Images

By Jeff Turrentine

More than 58 million people currently living in the U.S. — 17 percent of the population — are of Latin-American descent. By 2065 that percentage is expected to rise to nearly a quarter. Hardly a monolith, this diverse group includes people with roots in dozens of countries; they or their ancestors might have arrived here at any point between the 1500s and today. They differ culturally, linguistically and politically.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Thu Thai Thanh / EyeEm / Getty Images

By Jillian Kubala, MS, RD

Commonly consumed vegetables, such as spinach, lettuce, peppers, carrots, and cabbage, provide abundant nutrients and flavors. It's no wonder that they're among the most popular varieties worldwide.

Read More Show Less
Petrochemical facilities in the Houston ship channel. Roy Luck / CC BY 2.0

By Tara Lohan

Prigi Arisandi, who founded the environmental group Ecological Observation and Wetlands Conservation, picks through a heap of worn plastic packaging in Mojokerto, Indonesia. Reading the labels, he calls out where the trash originated: the United States, Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Canada. The logos range from Nestlé to Bob's Red Mill, Starbucks to Dunkin Donuts.

The trash of rich nations has become the burden of poorer countries.

Read More Show Less
Pixabay

By Lisa Wartenberg, MFA, RD, LD

Caffeine's popularity as a natural stimulant is unparalleled.

Read More Show Less