Environment & Science
1:34 pm
Sun July 21, 2013

More algae in Lake Erie

A significant amount of blue-green algae is expected in the western basin of Lake Erie this summer. This year’s algal bloom will be about 1/5 as bad as what happened in 2011.

2011 was one of the worst years on record for the explosions of algae growth.

Satellite image of 2011 bloom (one of the most severe in decades).
Credit MERIS/NASA

Sandy Bihn is with the citizens-based group, Lake Erie Waterkeeper. She says the blooms are caused "by too much phosphorous, too much runoff from the land, too many wastewater overflows, sewage deposits, storm water runoff, and manure rolling from the land into the water."

The runoff travels from rivers into Lake Erie, creating large amounts of algae which turn the water green and hurt the water’s quality. Local officials are also worried the algae could scare off people who come to fish and swim in Lake Erie.

NOAA (aka the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) updates a weekly bulletin about harmful algal blooms (called HABs) on their website.

Here's more information about this year's algae forecast from NOAA.