Lake Erie Algae Topic of Meeting
The September meeting of TMACOG’s Environmental Council included a special program on Lake Erie and the rise in troublesome algae in the lake. Dr. Tom Bridgeman from the University of Toledo presented data about changes in algae growth over the last several decades. He noted that algae blooms were not a significant issue in the 1980s, but starting in the mid-1990s at least two kinds of problem algae began to appear and persist. Extensive presentations on Lake Erie’s most pressing problems are posted on the website for the 2010 Lake Erie Millennium Network.
Gail Hesse, environmental manager for Ohio EPA in the Division of Surface Water, reported on the findings of the Ohio Lake Erie Phosphorus Task Force, a group that undertook a serious study of algae. That report can be seen here. Primary findings of the task force are: dissolved reactive phosphorus loading is driven by storm runoff; soil nutrient interactions are key to understanding nutrient movement; there are multiple contributors but agriculture is the most significant. Other speakers were Cathy Miller, interim president, Destination Toledo, Inc.; and John D. Walthall, water plant manager, City of Toledo. Cathy Miller talked about Lake Erie and tourism, and John Walthall talked about the expenses incurred in water management when algae are in bloom.
Dr. Tom Bridgeman, University of Toledo,
Ohio Lake Erie Center.
(from left) Kurt Erichsen, TMACOG Vice President of Environmental Planning; Kenneth Fallows, Chair of the Environmental Council; and Jim Sass, Vice Chair of the Environmental Council at the September meeting.