Monday, June 24

Toxic Algae Blooms Cover Western End of Lake Erie. Can Hurt Boating

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Lake Erie is in trouble, or at least about 700 square miles of the western end of the lake are, and the problem seems to be getting worse. The surface of the lake there is turning bright green, as miles of algae cover the surface, often deep enough for you to write on. A similar problem two years ago kept boats out of the lake for six weeks or more.

The New York Times reports that algae blooms, containing cyanobacteria with toxins that can contaminate drinking water, have been growing on the lake since 2000. They have increased as fertilizer flows off the region’s farmland. The public health problem is that millions of people rely on the lake for drinking water, and cyanobacteria can cause severe liver damage.

The musty-smelling algae blooms also hurt the boating, fishing and marine industries in the area. The Times quotes David Spangler, vice president of the Lake Erie Charter Boat Association, as saying, “An awful lot of money may go someplace else other than Ohio if we continue to have these issues on the lake.” Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/10/03/science/earth/lake-erie.html

 

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