Environmental groups warn of potentially significant algal bloom

CKTB - NEWS - Algal Bloom

This year's algae bloom in Lake Erie could be one of the worst since 2015.

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration ranks algae blooms out of 10, and this year they are forecasting a 7.5.

Some experts as calling the situation 'dire' while pushing on all levels of government to do more about phosphorus pollution, one of the leading causes of the blooms.

"Recently, we're seeing runoff from the landscape, primarily agriculture." Explains Director of Ohio Sea Grant and Stone Laboratory Christopher Winslow. "So we're getting a new source of phosphorus coming from that activity."

Some of the measures Winslow suggests are covering crops, buffer strips between fields and rivers, and putting fertilizer underground.

Winslow also points out the blooms can have a negative impact on the economy and tourism, especially if the blooms produce toxins.

"We don't have a lot of anglers that want to go out and fish on the lake when they're sitting in pea soup. The other big cost is when the toxins are there, the water treatment plants have to do extra treatment to get those toxins out."

Officials with environmental protection groups say if something isn't done soon the blooms will cause beach closures, kill fish, and cost $297 million per year in economic damages.