Better Farming Practices Needed To Avoid Algae Blooms

Jul 16, 2014

If you've spent anytime boating on Lake Erie over the last few summers, you may very well have been diverted by huge patches of algae blooms.

Satellite image of Lake Erie shows algae blooms.
Satellite image of Lake Erie shows algae blooms.
Credit noaa.gov

It would appear you'll have the same issue later this summer.

Scientists predict another large toxic bloom will appear on the western side of Lake Erie this summer. The blooms are caused by excessive amounts of phosphorus and other chemicals typically found in agricultural run-off.

Don Scavia is Director of the Graham Sustainability Institute at the University of Michigan.

He says the blooms are hazardous the lake's ecosystem and humans. The blooms consume oxygen and create dead zones within Lake Erie where fish and other aquatic life cannot survive. Communities relying on Lake Erie for fresh water have to spend more time and money treating the water to make it safe for consumption.

Scavia says to prevent future blooms and ecological damage, better farming practices and controls are needed to prevent the chemical run-off into the lake.