A “significant” harmful algae bloom is expected to form in western Lake Erie this summer, though it probably won't be as large as some previous formations that posed health risks and hampered tourism, scientists said Thursday TRAVERSE CITY, Mich.
(AP) — A “significant” harmful algae bloom is expected to form in western Lake Erie this summer, though it probably won’t be as large as some previous formations that posed health risks and hampered tourism, scientists said Thursday.The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and research partners released their annual algae forecast for the shallowest and warmest of the Great Lakes, where massive algae formations are a recurring threat to the environment and the economy.
It resulted from a rare combination of factors, including high levels of toxins generated by the bloom and its location near Toledo’s offshore water intake facility, NOAA oceanographer Rick Stumpf said.
A rating above 5 indicates a potentially harmful level, meaning such blooms could do damage by producing toxins or sucking enough oxygen to cause fish kills.When they developed the scale, researchers thought the maximum score would be a 10.
A similar pattern is expected in coming months.“A bloom of this size is evidence that the research and outreach efforts currently underway to reduce nutrient loading, optimize water treatment, and understand bloom dynamics need to continue,” said Christopher Winslow, Ph.D., director of the Ohio Sea Grant College Program.But he added that despite its anticipated size, “much of the lake will be algae-free throughout the bloom season and the lake remains a key asset.”Michigan, Ohio and the Canadian province of Ontario have agreed to cut phosphorus going into the lake by 40 percent over the next decade.