National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration researchers are forecasting a smaller algae bloom in the western Lake Erie basin this summer than last.
Scientists expect the bloom will smaller than the largest blooms that formed in 2011 and 2015. Ohio Governor John Kasich this week signed an executive order that could end up creating new regulations on farm fertilizer runoff into the basin to help stop toxic algae blooms from developing. Ohio Public Radio's Karen Kasler explains.
Runoff of phosphorus and other nutrients from farmland is considered a leading contributor to algae blooms. Kasich’s order asks the Ohio EPA and the departments of Agriculture and Natural Resources to recommend rules for fertilizer and manure use in eight watersheds in western Ohio.
“We have to constantly upgrade and do what we can – respecting farmers, they’re an important part of our system – but to develop a plan that will keep us from having more algae blooms and doing more damage to that lake.”
The Kasich administration has said voluntary steps taken by farmers haven’t been enough, and that more aggressive action is needed. Some 7,000 farms could be affected. But farm groups are pushing back, saying the solution to the algae bloom problem is unclear.