Battling the Bloom: Lake Erie

Toxic algal blooms are causing major issues in Lake Erie. Source: QUEST Ohio

Toxic algal blooms are causing major issues in Lake Erie. Source: QUEST Ohio

 

Click here to watch Battling the Bloom: Lake Erie

In 1970, sections of Lake Erie were declared dead due to an excess of toxic algal blooms created by industrial pollution. But a little over a decade later, the lake went through a transformation that saw a return of wildlife and recreation to the area.

Over the past five years, the blooms have returned. These blooms are largely caused by fertilizer and farmland waste nearby running off into Lake Erie.

The video linked above discusses the past and current threats posed to Lake Erie by these blooms, and what scientists and conservationists are doing to stop them.

See the complete story on QUEST Ohio.

  • Tom M.

    No need to concede Joe, I see your points. But given the facts and a massive invasive’s problem, I refuse to believe our best coarse of action is to fill lake Michigan back up with alewives. It’s my understanding OHIO DNR is against stocking because the lakes big enough to take care of itself. Clearly not. This is biological problem, the biology and studies exist that we can get things back in control, for the most part, minimize the impacts as the “plans” say we’re supposed to working towards. But we can’t work the problem, because it might effect scoops people, or this or that group. Illinois and Indiana are gearing up to keep a permanent asian carp population at the base of Lake Michigan, carp jobs, creating the same problem we have here. Can’t get rid of the Asian Carp, carp jobs! Can’t get rid of alewives salmon jobs! Both require the destruction of the natural ecosysten to exist,affecting everyone, but that’s OK? We all have to concede the health of the lake comes first, simple. At least your trying to do something! We have many options but that depends on who you ask!

  • Joe

    I concede, diatoms are plankton. Less planktivores needed.

  • Tom M.

    N and P? Please explain. Breaking stuff down to the basics first is the best way I know to solve problems. If your breaking the basic rules of anything that million dollar machine wont help or fix anything. We have a layer millions of invasives blocking eating food, little light on predators, a lot light, that’s our fault. In Lake Michigan it’s intentional, Erie, overfishing, shaky spawn survival interference from invasives, 2 things we can control. More predators take the pressure off the zooplankton. Can be done while you fight over farming practice. Holistic view of things? Make the ecosystem resistant as intended, zooplankton the gears in the machine? I get the zooplankton thing, protect that protect the whole ballawax!

  • Joe

    Diatoms are a tricky breed indeed, you tell them you believe what they’re saying in terms of how the ecosystem functions then they challenge you to a fist fight. They come out swinging, so you defend yourself… you win the fight. Then they send you up the food chain to where the big predators are. Eventually you run into the big kahuna at the playground, Tom. And it’s like hey… I know you. They have no interest in working with N and P.

  • Tom M.

    Thank you Bhaskar, That’s all I’m trying to say, is the basic functions of the lakes are out of whack, mostly due to invasives dominant impacts, too many planktivoes controlling the bottom of the food chain. One study they planted predators but also restocked zooplankton, lake cleaned up. If we fix the zooplankton we need to make sure it’s not wasted on invasives, or wiped out before ot can do it’s job.

  • Joe Barrett

    Listen to me. Lake Erie is sick. It is suffering from an overly rich nutrient base from a stalled conveyor. the ice boom has caused a build up in nutrients and stopped the natural cleansing action of moving ice flow. It’s the single biggest change to Lake erie in 12,000 years and it only started 50 years ago. Wake up. Open your eyes and mind. read “Ice Boom Theory” and tell your friends. Google “Joe Barrett/ Ice boom” for details. This isn’t going to fix itself. We have to get the IJC to outlaw the use of the ice boom. THX JBB

  • Bhaskar

    Growing Diatoms is the simple solution to algal blooms.

    Diatoms are consumed by Zooplankton, so their biomass increases ( this answers Tom M’s question above )and helps feed fish.

    Diatoms consume N and P and thus starve out Cyanobacteria.

    Thus Diatoms send the N and P up the food chain and keep water clean and well oxygenated.

  • Tom M.

    All I’m saying is looking at all these studies from all around the world overfishing of predators is connected. I get lack of zooplankton allows algae blooms, that makes sense the natural control function is gone, regardless of where algae comes from. I don’t get oxygen pumps after the fact, how many you got, how much that gonna cost? You can still argue about farming practices, plenty of people working on that. But restoring the natural function of the lakes? Can’t do that, wait until Erie so stagnant we can’t use it? Give up lake Michigan to the Asian Carp without firing a shot, because of this special group or that. Can’t do the right thing? I thought the lakes were supposed to win, what was I thinkin!

  • Dave

    How does one distinguish between “Industrial Pollution” from various industries, whether manufacturing or today’s mega-farms? Sadly, we often forget (or ignore the fact, if we ever aware of it) that every industry we engage in has downstream impacts. Those downstream impacts, by their very nature, always seem to impact SOMEONE ELSE as the river takes OUR stuff away. Sooner or later, especially with large-scale operations, those impacts rear their ugly heads and affect those upstream of the impacts as well.

    Nobody, at least among those who depend upon political contributions for their jobs, seems to be interested in having sensible regulation and enforcement for industrial farming operations. Unfortunately too many people have become comfortable with the idea of cheap and always-available meat and produce and, therefore, are willing to divert their gaze from the negative impacts.

    There is simply too much influence from those industries for the good of all people.

  • Tom M.

    I still say the link between too many zooplankton eaters (planktivores) and the algae blooms is to great to ignore. Sure stop extra phophorus, but look at the whole picture. But if you mention restoring native predators, put true balance back in the lakes, it’s AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! he didn’t say native fish did he? Real biology? AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! We don’t need no stinkin biology!