Sept 25 2017 UPDATE: The algae bloom in the western end of Lake Erie is quite large now, extending from the Ohio and Michigan coasts, up along the west coast of Pelee Island, to the coast of Ontario. The algae is most dense along the Ontario coast, and this is also where toxin concentrations are quite possibly exceeding the recreational level threshold. For more details, please see the the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration's Lake Erie Harmful Algal Bloom Bulletin.
2016 was a very mild algae year for Lake Erie, due in large part to the extremely dry spring and summer. However it offered only a temporary reprieve for those who live, work and play in the region. With all the rain we've had these past few months, the algae forecast for 2017 looks more dire. The 2015 bloom was the largest on record, while in 2014, the algae outbreak shut down the drinking water supply in Toledo, Ohio. On Pelee Island, it led to beach closures in and a public health advisory to not use the lake water. Harmful algae in Lake Erie has now reached a tipping point where it poses a serious threat to wildlife, the quality of life and the economic vitality of the region.
Cleaning up Lake Erie’s waters is going to require a sizable collective effort and long term commitment across two countries, five states, and the province of Ontario, as well as many communities and stakeholders. Coordinated action proved the 1970s claim that “Lake Erie was dead” wrong -- and thankfully it still boasts the largest commercial fishery of all the Great Lakes. Lake Erie’s challenges have escalated but with coordinated action and a focus on solutions that will drive reductions in algae causing pollution, we can keep “Lake Erie Alive” once more.
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