A NOAA statement released today on the coming algal blooms in western Lake Erie paints a bleak picture for swimmers and people who enjoy drinking clean water alike as projections are once again revised upward.
When we last covered the NOAA algal bloom predictions, the models were projecting a bloom between 5-6 on the severity index (out of 10), with a statistical maximum of slightly under 8. With new data in, the projections have moved much higher. The bloom will be expected to measure 8.7 on the severity index with a range from 8.1 to potentially as high as 9.5.
For senior advisor to, and former director of, The Ohio State University’s Sea Grant program and Stone Laboratory, Jeff Reutter, things are dire. “Last summer’s Toledo water crisis was a wake-up call to the serious nature of harmful algal blooms in America’s waters. This forecast once again focuses attention on this issue, and the urgent need to take action to address the problems caused by excessive amounts of nutrients from fertilizer, manure and sewage flowing into our lakes and streams.”