July 12 2018 UPDATE: Scientists predict another significant harmful algae bloom in Lake Erie this summer.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has released this summer's forecast for harmful algae in Lake Erie, and the news isn't good. NOAA is predicting a significant algae bloom this year, with a severity of 6. While forecast to be smaller than last year’s bloom which rated an 8, it is important to note that the size of a bloom does not necessarily correlate with the toxicity. The 2014 bloom was relatively small but quite toxic, causing 500,000 Toledo, Ohio and Pelee Island, Ont. residents to go without safe tap water for days, and unable to enjoy local beaches.
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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