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.

‘Significant’ Lake Erie algal bloom forecast

In a forecast presented today at Ohio State’s Stone Laboratory at Put-in-Bay, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and its partners are predicting a “significant” harmful algal bloom in western Lake Erie this summer. Read Ohio Sea Grant’s press release about the forecast.

What’s the Lake Erie algae forecast?

A reminder that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s annual harmful algal bloom forecast for western Lake Erie, including reports on Maumee River nutrient loading and on recent research aimed at solving the problem, is set for July 11 at Stone Lab at Put-in-Bay. There’s a webinar option if you can’t attend in person. (Photo: Lake Erie on June 26, NOAA CoastWatch.)

Reducing fertilizer runoff into waterways

By Alayna DeMartini, CFAES Marketing and Communications

A new report details laws across the United States intended to decrease the amount of key nutrients in fertilizer from entering rivers, lakes, and streams. The report was written by Peggy Hall, agricultural and resource law field specialist with CFAES, and Ellen Essman, a CFAES research associate.

In addition to examining laws, the report also describes measures that various states have taken to encourage farmers to voluntarily participate in practices that reduce the amount of nitrogen or phosphorus, both critical ingredients in fertilizer, from leaving the farm fields on which they were applied.

Excessive nitrogen and phosphorus in water can encourage the growth of harmful algal blooms that can contaminate surface and drinking water supplies.

Find out more and download the report.

Lake Erie algae ‘not just a western-basin issue’

A study on harmful algal blooms in central Lake Erie, featured in earlier posts here and here, was recently covered by the Columbus Dispatch.

“The main takeaway,” study leader Justin Chaffin is quoted as saying in the story, “is that cyanobacteria blooms are not just a western-basin issue.”

Chaffin is research coordinator at CFAES’ Stone Laboratory.

Read the full story.

Study: Harmful algae in central Lake Erie too

A new study of harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie’s central basin, mentioned in an April 23 post, gets deeper coverage in a story today by Ohio State science writer Misti Crane.

Not only do blooms routinely occur in the lake’s central basin, the story says, they can also produce types of cyanobacterial toxins—toxins produced by cyanobacteria, the organisms responsible for harmful algal blooms—that typically aren’t detected through routine water-safety monitoring.

Continue reading

Stone Lab to ramp up its work for Lake Erie

CFAES’ Stone Laboratory, already the home of extensive long-term Lake Erie water quality efforts, is adding a new research building at Put-in-Bay and new monitoring equipment on the Maumee River, Lake Erie’s largest tributary, thanks to funding provided by Senate Bill 299, the bipartisan Clean Lake 2020 Plan.

Continue reading