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Toledo area swimmers warned about toxic algae in Lake Erie, again

Aug 14, 2013 - Columbus Dispatch - Toxic algae spur warning at Lake Erie beach near Toledo

Toxic blue-green algae have resurfaced in the western basin of Lake Erie, prompting Ohio officials to post warnings for swimmers.

Water tests at Maumee Bay State Park beach last week found a liver toxin produced by the algae at a concentration strong enough to trigger a warning that swimming and wading are not recommended for older people, young children and those with weak immune systems.

Before we northwest Ohio residents get into a lather over fracking in eastern Ohio, we may want to clean up our own backyard and pond first. Agricultural chemicals entering watershed, questionable farming practices, lack of riparian corridor habitat, continual suburban development despite the area's continual population decline. Yep. We have a few issues to tackle.

More from the Dispatch story.

“It’s just above the threshold” for a warning, Dina Pierce, an Ohio Environmental Protection Agency spokeswoman, said yesterday.

It is the first Lake Erie beach in Ohio where warnings have been posted this summer. A bloom of toxic algae that appeared in the lake’s central basin in July prompted Canadian health officials to close some Ontario beaches.

Elsewhere in Ohio, warnings are posted at beaches along Grand Lake St. Marys, the lake at East Fork State Park and Buckeye Lake in central Ohio.

Blue-green algae, or cyanobacteria, are common in most lakes but grow thick feeding on phosphorus from sewage, manure and fertilizers that rains wash into streams. The algae produce liver and nerve toxins that can sicken people and kill pets.

In Lake Erie, the algae also help create an oxygen-depleted dead zone where fish cannot live. The algae are deemed a dire threat to the lake’s tourism economy, estimated at $11 billion a year.

In 2011, heavy spring rains that washed phosphorus off farm fields helped grow a record “bloom” of toxic algae in the lake. At one point, the algae fouled water from Toledo to Cleveland.

A task force of state officials, scientists and business and environmental advocates is expected to release a report this month that will outline steps, including recommended reductions in farm-fertilizer runoff, to reduce Erie’s algae blooms.

Last summer (2012) was hot and dry. But this summer has been cool, and it was quite wet from late June into mid July when about eight inches of rain fell with other areas probably receiving more rain than that.

My July 20, 2013 microblog post

http://www.toledoblade.com/MarilouJohanek/2013/07/20/Enjoy-Ohio-s-natural-beauty-here-comes-fracking-to-ruin-it.html #media #moronism #nature. It's absurd when a nw. Ohio media outlet criticizes the enviro issues in e. Ohio when nw Ohio has a severe problem with farm fertilizer runoff into watershed

Before reaming other areas of the state, northwest Ohio residents should be concerned about their own damn backyard.

Bad farming practices - Harsh agricultural chemicals are used. Farmers trying to maximize yield and thus income leave little to no habitat along rivers and streams. This riparian corridor could filter the chemical runoff. Little to no vegegation exists along the edges of the deep ditches that border farm fields, which are used take in the runoff from farm fields.

Over the past 40 years, the population in the Toledo area has at best remained unchanged, although data shows the metro population has declined. While some communities have seen population growth, Toledo's population declined by nearly 100,000 people between 1970 and 2010.

Imbecilic political decisions by the government of the decaying urban center and Toledo's declining public school system has encouraged residents and businesses to move out of the city.

So while population has declined, the amount of developed land around Toledo has at least doubled and maybe tripled over the past 40 years. More concrete, asphalt, rooftops, lawn chemicals.

The Toledo used to be a swamp. High water table. Not much ground absorption. More runoff into streams and rivers and eventually into Lake Erie.

What might help? More native plants and other vegetation and less lawn space. More trees, shrubs, and grasses or prairie plants along farm field edges.

Related post - September 2013 - Carroll Township Algal toxins water problem - Sep 5, 2013

http://www.toledoblade.com/Politics/2013/10/01/Toxin-to-cost-city-another-1M-Copy.html

Lake Erie plastic beads

August 7, 2013 Toledo Talk post: Troubled Waters - Lake Erie's Plastic Problem

The article is at the August 1, 2013 posting of Quest- Exploring the Science of Sustainability***

Some highlights
--they found the highest concentration of plastics — denser than in the oceans — in Lake Erie.

--Trash from beaches, river banks, and neighborhood gutters makes its way into our waterways. Things like plastic cigar tips, food wrappers, toys, and disposable drink bottles get bumped around, blown, and washed off into the streets, through the sewers, and into Lake Erie.

---The plastics break down into tiny pieces while traveling through the waterways, but they don’t biodegrade. These tiny bits ofplastic, sometimes referred to as “toxic mermaid tears,” are found in Lake Erie at three times the density of anywhere else on Earth.

--Researchers at 5 Gyre discovered tiny round balls in Lake Erie water samples that they say are a perfect match with the microbeads found in certain face washes. According to the research group, water samples from Lake Erie were loaded with these microbeads. They plan to publish their results this summer in the journal Marine Pollution Bulletin, and are urging companies to phase out plastic microbead scrubbers.

--Since Lake Erie is a source of water for many cities, there’s also a concern that these plastics could leach chemicals into the water supply that may be harmful to humans. One chemical of concern is bisphenol A (BPA), which is found in many plastics and coatings and is a known endocrine disrupter.

---The plastics in Lake Erie and elsewhere will not go away, but further pollution control is certainly possible. Right now remediation options are generally unknown, though some whimsical solutions have been proposed, such as giant floating funnels and soap bottles made of ocean trash.

Link for the above info:
http://science.kqed.org/quest/2013/08/01/troubled-waters-lake-eries-plastic-problem/

Oct 31, 2013 - BoingBoing.net - Face scrub micro-beads are choking the Great Lakes

#media - #environment - #plants - #nature - #lakeerie - #toledo - #blog_jr

By JR - 1021 words
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