Groups forecast large toxic algae bloom for Lake Erie this summer


GIBRALTAR ISLAND, Ohio — Frequent storms that drenched northwest Ohio in the spring will help grow a significant amount of toxic blue-green algae in Lake Erie later this month.

A team of Ohio researchers and officials with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration gathered this morning at Ohio State University’s Stone Laboratory to talk about the algae that has plagued the lake’s western basin for years.

The forecast calls for a bloom that is larger than last year’s, but smaller than the one in 2011, which stretched from Toledo to Cleveland.

Toxic algae, also called cyanobacteria, are common in most lakes, but grow thick feeding on phosphorus in manure, fertilizers and sewage that rains wash into streams.

The algae produce liver and nerve toxins that can sicken people and kill pets and wildlife. It is one reason the algae are deemed a dire threat to the Lake and its $10 billion annual tourism industry.

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