OH - Lake Erie algal bloom and new twist on the Ned Rig
You don’t often think of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration when talking about the Great Lakes, but NOAA will be in the spotlight later this week when it joins with Ohio Sea Grant and Stone Laboratory at The Ohio State University to forecast this year’s algal bloom on Lake Erie.
The organizations will hold a news conference on Thursday and quite possibly have already given a hint into this year’s bloom prediction by headlining their release “Lake Erie harmful algal bloom forecast.” However, according to NOAA’s latest forecast, “there is currently no bloom of Microcystis in Lake Erie. Low levels of chlorophyll and microcystin concentrations have been detected in Maumee Bay but remain below the detectable limit at most locations.”
We won’t be out of the woods, though, until October when the Lake Erie water starts cooling down.
Lake Erie’s algae blooms are caused when rainfall washes fertilizer and manure spread on large farm fields into streams that flow into Lake Erie. The nutrients fuel a crop of algae each year that can make water toxic to fish, wildlife, and people. Last year, the algal bloom in Lake Erie’s Western Basin, which basically stems from the Maumee River watershed, was a 7.5 on a scale of 0-10. In August of 2019, the algal bloom on Lake Erie covered an area equal to 620 square miles.
Warm weather and less wind makes the algal bloom bigger, which is not good news considering the stretch of 90-degree days we are currently experiencing, and we haven’t even gotten to the dog days of summer, yet.