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Spread of Lake Erie algae raises alarm across region

September 28, 2017

Toledo — For nearly a week, the Maumee River that runs through the downtown has looked like the Chicago River after it’s dyed for St. Patrick’s Day.

An algal bloom has turned the river, western edge of Lake Erie from here up to Canada florescent green, alarming residents and prompting local officials to lobby the Environmental Protection Agency to take action, even calling on President Donald Trump to intervene.

“There is something very wrong with our country when our rivers and lakes turn green,” Toledo Mayor Paula Hicks-Hudson wrote in a letter to Trump this week.

Phosphorus-rich fertilizers and manure running off from large livestock farms into Lake Erie, some carried by the Maumee River, have fed the growth of the bloom.

“It is time to come together and get to the heart of the issue,” she said via email, urging for tougher enforcement of manure laws, the impairment designation and changes to the Clean Water Act. “We need real change in agricultural practices, so we can protect and restore our water.”





Toledo mayor Mayor Hicks-Hudson now wants Lake Erie declared impaired

September 28, 2017

Toledo Mayor Paula Hicks-Hudson reversed course Tuesday and announced she would support the effort to get Lake Erie's western basin declared impaired because of excessive algae.

The mayor made the announcement in Middlegrounds Metropark on the banks of the Maumee River, which was a blend of dark and near-florescent green.

The Toledo-Lucas County Health Department issued a recreational public health advisory because of an algal bloom on the river in downtown Toledo. The bloom extended from the Anthony Wayne Bridge to Cullen Park, and advisory signs were posted at various access points. 

"We want to to thank the city of Toledo for finally coming to the party," said Pete Gerken, president of the board of commissioners. "I guess it took the green monster of the river in downtown Toledo on a weekend where there were 1,200 rowers to get somebody's attention. We always welcome people to our side in what we think is a righteous fight."


Lake Erie algae ashore in Point Place (photos of impact to fish & Toledo neighborhood)

September 21, 2017

Green algae is evident in Lake Erie on the shores of Point Place at the end of 113th Street on Wednesday.

Warning: 8 Disturbing photos of impact on fish, property values, and neighborhood life style.



Algae making its way into the Maumee River from Lake Erie

September 21, 2017

On Tuesday green algae could been seen almost at a standstill on top of the Maumee River. That is the algae that releases the microsystin toxins. We normally see this dense algae out on Lake Erie.

But some are wondering why are we seeing it this far into the Maumee?

Biologists from Bowling Green State University said it is not unrealistic to have an algae bloom make its way up the Maumee River. The scientists said there are a number of reasons why there's a bloom in downtown Toledo such as the massive algae bloom resting in the Western Lake Erie Basin, the slow currents and high levels of phosphorus in river.

Folks downtown were surprised to see the water so green.

“I looked at this and I thought oh my gosh this was so pretty two or three weeks ago,” said Nancy Fulwider. “I didn't know if it was the dredging that did it or if it was coming in from Lake Erie. But it's awful.”

Like Nancy, another woman thought the dredging of the Maumee was to remove algae.



Hurting businesses: Officials take tour of Lake Erie algae bloom –

September 18, 2017

Dave Spangler, vice president of the Lake Erie Charter Association, told people aboard his vessel the noxious algae has driven away 25 to 30 percent of his business, and hurt property values near his lakefront condo.

“Our business is entirely tied to what is going on in the lake,” Mr. Spangler, one of three charter boat captains shuttling 50 attendees out on the water near Maumee Bay State Park, said.

VIDEO: Dave Spangler talks about algal bloom on Maumee Bay 

Customers from past years go elsewhere when it’s this bad. In addition to charter boat captains, algae costs fish-cleaning businesses, bait-and-tackle shops, and fuel docks money, he said.



High levels of Microcystin toxin & E Coli – Advisory at Maumee (OH) State Park

September 3, 2017

Algae advisory keeps many away from Maumee Bay State Park

Signs on Beach: 
Avoid water:
"That looks like spilled paint"
"Has Green globs floating below the Surface"

"Avoid Swallowing Lake Water"

The beaches at Maumee Bay State Park were unusually empty Sunday, and it might not be just the unseasonally cool temperatures keeping swimmers away.

The Lake Erie beach is under a public health advisory because of high levels of microcystin found in Lake Erie, along with high levels of E. coli bacteria.

This advisory has no effect on Toledo drinking water, which remains clear, according to the Toledo Water Quality dashboard.

Some combination of the weather and the algae, which turned parts of the tide a distinct shade of green, kept the Labor Day crowds off the beaches.

“This is dead,” Mary Goldstein said from the beach. “The beach is usually so crowded.”




Time to call Lake Erie what it is — impaired

August 31, 2017

Questions may remain for some about the wisdom of declaring western Lake Erie impaired under the federal Clean Water Act. But reality is knocking at the door. The mayor of Toledo and the governor of Ohio resist this designation. They believe the impaired label will drive away tourists and discourage businesses and people...

Toledo Blade cartoonist: Ohio Farm Bureau & DBM*

August 31, 2017

Toledo Blade: Ohio Farm Bureau's relationship to local fish *DBM = Death by Manure. Credit: Toledo Blade, Kirk Walters[/caption]...

State, federal government need to do more to protect our waterways

August 29, 2017

A fish kill in Williams County on Aug. 17 highlights in stark terms the failure of Ohio in dealing with animal waste and fertilizer runoff into the state’s waterways.

On the same day as about 15,000 fish suffocated when ammonia from manure flowed into Beaver Creek in eastern Williams County, Mike Ferner of Advocates for a Clean Lake Erie, Frank Szollosi of the National Wildlife Federation, and Sandy Bihn of the Lake Erie Foundation warned The Blade’s editorial board about the dangers of agricultural runoff.

All three agreed that the powerful Ohio Farm Bureau has long had the ear of members of the General Assembly. The Bureau has rightfully fought for property-tax relief for its members. But it has also lobbied against an impairment designation for the western basin of Lake Erie and against stricter rules for fertilizer application. The most glaring and inexcusable protection for farmers is the anonymity they are afforded when their manure is spread on farm fields and it leaches into nearby waterways.