Thursday: Will farming changes be enough to meet Lake Erie’s phosphorus goal?

CFAES researchers will present “Evaluating Management Options to Reduce Lake Erie Algal Blooms With Models of the Maumee River Watershed” during a public press conference at 2 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 21, on Ohio State’s Columbus campus. The event, the researchers say, will answer the question, “If agricultural landowners were to adopt a combination of feasible best management practices, could we reduce phosphorus enough to meet the targets set by the United States and Canada?”

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Lake Erie’s algal bloom was twice as bad as last year’s

This summer’s harmful algal bloom in Lake Erie was twice as severe as last year’s—7.3 compared to 3.6, respectively, on a severity index of 1–10—and was slightly less than 2017’s, which was rated at 8. That’s according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and a Nov. 4 story on cleveland.com. Chris Winslow, director of Ohio Sea Grant and Stone Laboratory, was quoted in the story.

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Hear the latest in algal bloom science

The fourth annual Understanding Algal Blooms: State of the Science conference, featuring new findings on algal blooms and multiple speakers from CFAES, is set for Sept. 12 in Toledo.

Find full details and register. The deadline to register is Sept. 4. (Photo: Lake Erie algal bloom, Jeff Reutter, Ohio Sea Grant, via Flickr.)

And so, unfortunately, they begin

Today’s Lake Erie Harmful Algal Bloom Bulletin, published by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), reports the presence of a Microcystis cyanobacteria bloom extending from Maumee Bay near Toledo about 13 miles north along the Michigan coast and 15 miles east along the Ohio coast. A persistent bloom in Sandusky Bay, the bulletin reports, is continuing.

You can learn more about NOAA’s harmful algal bloom forecasts here, and you can sign up to get bulletins about them (every couple of days or so from July to October) by clicking the blue “Subscribe” button. Details in the bulletins, which include the locations of blooms and three-day forecasts, can be used to plan your activities at Lake Erie.

NOAA last week predicted that western Lake Erie will experience significant harmful algal bloom levels this summer.

Research ‘vital’ in algal bloom fight

This year’s extremely wet spring “has shed light on the movement of nutrients from the land into Lake Erie,” Chris Winslow, director of Ohio State’s Ohio Sea Grant and Stone Laboratory programs, said at yesterday’s announcement of the harmful algal bloom forecast for western Lake Erie. (You can watch the event here.)

“Despite the predicted size of this year’s bloom, portions of the lake will be algae-free during the bloom season, and the lake will remain a key asset for the state,” Winslow said. “Ongoing research continues to help us understand bloom movement and toxin production, and remains vital to providing our water treatment facilities with the tools, technology, and training they need to keep our drinking water safe.”

Read about CFAES’ ongoing efforts to help fight Lake Erie’s harmful algal blooms. (Photo: Marblehead lighthouse, Getty Images.)

How will Lake Erie’s algal bloom rate?

This summer’s harmful algal bloom in western Lake Erie is expected to measure 7.5 on the severity index, but could possibly range between 6 and 9, according to the forecast released yesterday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

To compare, last year’s bloom was 3.6, 2017’s was 8.0, while the record bloom in 2015 was 10.5.

Read Ohio Sea Grant’s press release about the announcement.

Watch the announcement event above.