Opinion: Science lacking in proposed waters of the U.S. rule

A new article led by Mažeika Sullivan, associate professor in CFAES’ School of Environment and Natural Resources (SENR), explains how the new proposed waters of the U.S. rule, which administers the Clean Water Act, fails to consider the best available science. If enacted, the rule could put millions of acres of wetlands and millions of miles of streams at risk, with severe consequences to environmental quality and human well-being. The article appeared recently in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Read the article.

Sullivan also serves as the director of SENR’s Wilma H. Schiermeier Olentangy River Wetland Research Park.

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.

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Team works to benefit water and farms

CFAES’ Healthy Land-Water Systems: Water Quality, Economics, and Human Behavior program, whose diverse team of scientists identifies ways to improve water quality while supporting agricultural production, won the Multi-disciplinary Team Award at last week’s CFAES Annual Research Conference. Find out more.

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.

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Study: Keep tabs on algae in central Lake Erie

Harmful algal blooms aren’t just a thing in western Lake Erie. They happen in the lake’s central basin too, and when they do, they sometimes produce toxins.

So says a new study led by Justin Chaffin of CFAES’ Stone Laboratory, which set out to learn more about the central basin’s less-studied blooms, including what drives them and whether they produce toxins called cyanobacterial toxins. The toxins, which can threaten human health, must be removed by facilities that treat drinking water.

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Help Stone Lab prepare for the season

Stone Laboratory’s 2019 volunteer Spring Work Weekend—which helps the lab prepare for its busy spring and summer, including its courses for college students—is April 12–14. Overnight accommodations are wait-list only now, but helpers are welcome for the day on Saturday, April 13. Participation is free, and breakfast and lunch are included. Find out more and register.

The lab, part of CFAES, is located at Put-in-Bay on Lake Erie. (Photo: 2018 Stone Lab work weekend, Jeff Reutter, Ohio Sea Grant, via Flickr.)