Scientists expect ‘significant’ algae bloom on Lake Erie
I consider the harmful forms of “significant” flowering algae in the western part of Lake Erie this summer, but probably will not be as large as a previous training that pose health hazards and hinder announced Thursday scientific tourism.
National partners in Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Research published their annual forecasts of algae for the lowest and hottest of the Great Lakes, where massive seaweed formations are a recurring threat to the environment and the economy.
Toxic pollution from blooming 2014 caused a two-day shutdown of tap water systems for 400 000 people in Toledo, Ohio and southeast Michigan.
“It’s going to be big, green, ugly and cause the same kind of problems you’ve had in the past to rent captains from boats trying to push people to fish,” said Don Scavia, a scientist at the University of Michigan .
It is unlikely to create another potable water crisis like there three years. This results from an unusual combination of factors, including high levels of toxins produced by flowering and its location near the floodwater water facility extracted from Toledo, said NOAA oceanographer Rick Stumpf. Surveillance has intensified since then and early detection devices have been installed, he added.
However, the situation emphasizes the need to reduce the flow of nutrients in the lake that feeds on algae and similar bacteria, mostly farms, as well as sewage treatment plants and other sources, Stumpf said.
The researchers developed a scale to evaluate the severity of a flowering as a function of the amount of algae in it over an extended period. They predict that this year will record a score of 7.5, although it can range from 6 to 9.5. A score greater than 5 indicates a potentially harmful level, which means that these flowers could damage the production of toxins or suck enough of oxygen in water to cause fish stains.
When the scale was developed, researchers estimate that the maximum score is equal to 10. A 2011 bloom has reached this mark and an explosion of 2015 has surpassed, registering a 10.5 recorded as the highest. It should be noted that the size of a flower may not reflect toxicity.
Flowering 2016 evaluated a slight 3.2, which has contributed to the dry climate. Spring and summer precipitation plays a key role in the formation of the flowering of manure washing the cultivated land in the streams and rivers that flow into the lake. Phosphorus in chemical fertilizers and livestock manure promotes the growth of algae.
The weather was significantly wetter this year, and the size of the flowering should reflect that.
Recent algal formations in the western part of Lake Erie took shape at the end of July and increased earlier than the beginning of August. A similar pattern is expected in the coming months.
“A flowering of this size is a proof that ongoing research and extension efforts to reduce nutrient loading, optimize water treatment and understand flowering dynamics must continue,” said Christopher Winslow, Ph.D. , Director of the Sea Grant College Program in Ohio.
However, he added that despite its previous size, “much of the lake will be free of algae throughout the flowering season and the lake remains a major asset.”
Michigan, Ohio and Ontario province of Canada agreed to reduce phosphorus in the lake by 40 percent over the next decade.