Another Mild Algae Bloom Forecast for Lake Erie this Summer

By John Seewer.

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — The toxic blob of algae that turns western Lake Erie a ghastly shade of green each summer and threatens drinking water and fish should be on the smaller side again this year following another dry spring, scientists predicted Wednesday.

Researchers expect this will be the first time in more than a decade that the shallowest of the Great Lakes will see back-to-back years of relatively mild algae blooms. But they caution that it’s not a sign the lake is turning the corner just yet.

That’s because they say the rosy outlook this year is mainly due to the lack of heavy rains that typically wash phosphorus-laden livestock manure and chemical fertilizers off farm fields and into the lake where it feeds the algae.

“While this is good news, the concentration of phosphorus still remains the same as recent years,” said Rick Stumpf, an oceanographer with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “Until we begin to see reductions in the concentration of phosphorus, the next year with above-average rainfall will have a more severe bloom.”