Quantcast

Lake Erie Algal Bloom Worsening By the Day

Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH)

Amid growing concern over the spread of blue-green algae in the Western Lake Erie basin, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) invited the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s chief conservation expert to Ohio and emphasized the importance of maintaining a focus on conservation programs to improve nutrient management and reduce soil erosion. Recently, front-page stories about blue-green algae have run in the Lorain Morning Journal, the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram and the Sandusky Register.

“The Western Lake Erie basin is a fragile ecosystem that has been out-of-balance for years. The severity of the algae bloom in the basin this year poses a threat to Ohio’s economy and Ohioans’ ability to enjoy the lake,” Brown said. “We must double down our efforts to restore the health of Lake Erie, and conservation is an important component of improving water quality and reducing algal bloom. I’m inviting the Agriculture Department’s chief agriculture conservation expert to Ohio so he can see the lake firsthand and meet with local experts who are working to improve nutrient management and improve the basin.”

In the letter, Brown invited Dave White, chief of the Natural Resource Conservation Service at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, to visit the Western Lake Erie basin. The Natural Resource Conservation Service released a new report Oct. 13 indicating “conservation practice use in the Great Lakes region has reduced sediment, nutrient and pesticide losses from farm fields” but “there remain[s] significant opportunities for reducing nonpoint agricultural sources of pollution.”

Brown, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, is working with Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow of Michigan to ensure that the 2012 Farm Bill provides the Natural Resource Conservation Service with tools to increase conservation efforts in the Western Lake Erie basin and throughout the Great Lakes. Earlier this year, Brown launched his “Grown in Ohio” listening session tour to get input from Ohio farmers as the Senate considers the 2012 Farm Bill. Brown has held four sessions so far, in Chesterland, Chillicothe, New Philadelphia and Custar.

Additionally, as a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Brown has fought to fully fund the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI). The GLRI is an interagency effort to target the most significant problems in the region and jumpstart restoration efforts to protect, maintain and restore the chemical, biological and physical integrity of the Great Lakes. GLRI funding has helped support the removal of invasive species and plants in Ohio, funded the Toledo Harbor Sediment Management Plan, and provided resources for a comprehensive monitoring program to assess the nearshore Lake Erie water quality.

The text of Brown’s letter can be found below.

Mr. Dave White

Chief

Natural Resource Conservation Service

U.S. Department of Agriculture

1400 Independence Ave, SW

Washington D.C. 20250

Dear Chief White:

Harmful algal blooms continue to be one of the most persistent challenges to the Western Lake Erie basin. Last week alone, front page stories published by the Lorain Morning Journal, the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram and the Sandusky Register indicated that blue-green algae blooms are worsening in the basin.

As we mark Great Lakes Week, I urge you to continue the positive contributions NRCS and your field staff have made to improving water quality in Lake Erie—Lake Erie plays a particularly important role in the lives of millions of Ohioans. Generations of Ohioans have spent their summers enjoying Lake Erie’s world class fisheries and calm waters for boating and recreation. Every year, tourism related to the lake contributes more than $10 billion to Ohio’s economy.

As you know, harmful algal blooms are evidence of larger problems across the watershed. The 2011 Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP) report released yesterday emphasizes that conservation must play an important role in restoring the health of Lake Erie. The work that has been made possible through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and USDA conservation programs has contributed greatly to improvements in the basin; however, more can and should be done.

As a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, I am working with Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow of Michigan to make sure the next Farm Bill provides the Natural Resource Conservation Service the direction and authority necessary to improve conservation efforts in the Western Lake Erie basin and throughout the Great Lakes region. I would also like to invite you to visit Ohio to see firsthand the algal blooms in Lake Erie and meet with the Ohioans who are working together to improve the watershed.

Thank you for your dedication and service in the effort to improve the health of Lake Erie and our nation’s working lands.

Sincerely,

Sherrod Brown

U.S. Senator

For more information, click here.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Sled dog teams pull researchers from the Danish Meteorological Institute through meltwater on the Greenland ice sheet in early June, 2019. Danish Meteorological Institute / Steffen M. Olsen

By Jon Queally

In yet the latest shocking image depicting just how fast the world's natural systems are changing due to the global climate emergency, a photograph showing a vast expanse of melted Arctic ice in Greenland — one in which a pair of sled dog teams appear to be walking on water — has gone viral.

Read More Show Less
CAFOs often store animal waste in massive, open-air lagoons, like this one at Vanguard Farms in Chocowinity, North Carolina. Bacteria feeding on the animal waste turns the mixture a bright pink. picstever / Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0

By Tia Schwab

It has been almost a year since Hurricane Florence slammed the Carolinas, dumping a record 30 inches of rainfall in some parts of the states. At least 52 people died, and property and economic losses reached $24 billion, with nearly $17 billion in North Carolina alone. Flood waters also killed an estimated 3.5 million chickens and 5,500 hogs.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Members of the NY Renews coalition gathered before New York lawmakers reached a deal on the Climate and Communities Protection Act. NYRenews / Twitter

By Julia Conley

Grassroots climate campaigners in New York applauded on Monday after state lawmakers reached a deal on sweeping climate legislation, paving the way for the passage of what could be some of the country's most ambitious environmental reforms.

Read More Show Less
In this picture taken on June 4, an Indian boatman walks amid boats on the dried bed of a lake at Nalsarovar Bird Sanctuary, on the eve of World Environment Day. Sam Panthaky / AFP / Getty Images

By Julia Conley

Nearly 50 people died on Saturday in one Indian state as record-breaking heatwaves across the country have caused an increasingly desperate situation.

Read More Show Less
A man carries a poster in New York City during the second annual nationwide March For Science on April 14, 2018. Kena Betancur / Getty Images

By Will J. Grant

In an ideal world, people would look at issues with a clear focus only on the facts. But in the real world, we know that doesn't happen often.

People often look at issues through the prism of their own particular political identity — and have probably always done so.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored

YinYang / E+ / Getty Images

In a blow to the Trump administration, the Supreme Court ruled Monday to uphold a Virginia ban on mining uranium, Reuters reported.

Read More Show Less
Ragú Old World Style Traditional is one of three flavors named in a voluntary recall. Mike Mozart / CC BY 2.0

Spaghetti with plastic sauce? That's what you might be eating if you pour one of three flavors of Ragú sauce over your pasta.

Mizkan America, the food company that owns Ragú, announced Saturday that it was voluntarily recalling some Chunky Tomato Garlic & Onion, Old World Style Traditional and Old World Style Meat sauces because they might be contaminated with plastic fragments, The Today Show reported.

Read More Show Less
A butterfly in the National Butterfly Center, a private sanctuary for butterflies in southern Texas, on Jan. 22. Maren Hennemuth / picture alliance / Getty Images

While Trump's border wall has yet to be completed, the threat it poses to pollinators is already felt, according to the National Butterfly Center in Mission, Texas, as reported by Transmission & Distribution World.

Read More Show Less