Friday, May 31, 2013

Scioto among six rivers in algae fight

An Ohio Environmental Protection Agency plan to stem pollutants that help toxic algae thrive in lakes and waterways will focus on six major streams, including the Scioto River in central Ohio.

The Scioto and the Great Miami River have nothing to do with the poisonous blooms of blue-green algae that grow each summer in Lake Erie and in Grand Lake St. Marys in western Ohio. But they do contribute to a vast “dead zone” that appears each summer in the Gulf of Mexico.

Efforts to shrink the zone, which often exceeds 6,000 square miles, could include cutting manure and fertilizer runoff from central Ohio farms and putting new limits on pollutants released by sewage-treatment plants.

... Toxic algae grow thick in water polluted with phosphorus and nitrogen from sewage, manure and fertilizers. They produce liver and nerve toxins that can sicken people and have killed pets and wildlife. Dead and decomposing algae rob water of oxygen, creating dead zones in the Gulf and Lake Erie where very little can live.

The Columbus Dispatch
28 May 2013
S Hunt
Location: Ohio, USA


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

River institute studying spiking algae levels

The St. Lawrence River Institute has received a grant of $24,970 from the Ontario Ministry of the Environment - Great Lakes Guardian Community Fund. The funding will support a project this summer called “AlgaeAlert” that will involve homeowners and volunteers in the area of Lake St. Francis. This project will track occurrences and causes of excess algae in waterways between Cornwall and the Quebec border.

... “We need people who live along the St. Lawrence waterfront to help us gather data and provide observations about algae in Lake St. Francis and its tributaries,” said Dr. Andy Bramburger, an algae specialist with the river institute. “From our past work, we know that excess algae in the water can be a big problem, especially when it’s one or more species collectively called cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae, which have the potential to affect human and animal health.”

Cornwall Seaway News
18 May 2013


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Project aims to restore western Lake Erie wetlands

A project restoring 2,500 acres into wetlands along western Lake Erie is a small but important step toward creating a new home for wildlife and cleaning water runoff from farm fields that feeds harmful algae, conservation organizations say.

Restoring the wetlands east of Toledo is one of several projects aimed at creating marshland along Lake Erie through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

... It would take well over 100,000 acres of wetlands to fix the water quality problems facing Lake Erie. "But every little bit counts," he added.  Knights said that while wetlands certainly act as a natural filter, the biggest way to improve the water is working with farmers to reduce the amount of fertilizer that ends up in Lake Erie.
05 May 2013
J Seewer

Monday, May 6, 2013

Lake Erie could be headed for a record-breaking algae bloom

Scientists at the International Joint Commission are sounding the alarm over a potentially “massive” blue-green algae crop in Lake Erie.

Although the algae is a vital part of the food chain in the Great Lakes, scientist Raj Bejankiwar says an excess can threaten other forms of marine life and adversely affect the hospitality industry.

“It’s not good for human health and it’s not good for tourism,” Bejankiwar said.

... Based on weather patterns and other data, Bejankiwar says Lake Erie can expect an algae bloom equal to or greater than the one that occurred in 2011.

“It will depend on what happens during the spring, but the loads between March 1 and April 15 are already the same or exceeding the same period in 2011,” he said. “That’s very discomforting, because 2011 was the worst algae bloom on record.”

Metro News
30 Apr 2013
L Simcoe