The green scum shown in this image is the worst algae bloom Lake Erie has experienced in decades. Vibrant green filaments extend out from the northern shore.
Algal blooms are once again causing problems for lakes and streams in Ohio this summer. But farmers are combating the situation, and so far, they’re getting some help from the weather.
When rain falls on farm fields that have been treated with fertilizers containing nitrogen and phosphorus, whatever chemicals haven't soaked deep enough into the soil, or made their way into the crops, can end up in nearby streams and lakes. That runoff is feeding nutrients to harmful algal blooms.
State officials say small amounts of harmful blue-green algae have led to testing and a sign warning swimmers not to swallow the water at a western Ohio reservoir.
But an Ohio Department of Natural Resources spokeswoman says the toxin levels are not enough to issue a public health advisory for Clarence J. Brown Reservoir in Buck Creek State Park. The Dayton Daily News reports the park north of Springfield attracts about 380,000 people annually for boating, swimming, fishing and camping.
Officials say testing of the reservoir will continue.
Ohio environmental officials are focusing on six major streams as they try to cut pollutants that help toxic algae thrive in the state's lakes and other waterways.
The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency has for years worked to cut manure and fertilizer runoff from Ohio farms and pollutants from sewage treatment plants that contribute to poisonous blooms of blue-green algae in Lake Erie and Grand Lake St. Marys in western Ohio.
The Columbus Dispatch reports that the state EPA will focus on the Scioto, Great Miami, Maumee, Sandusky, Cuyahoga and Wabash rivers.
A two-year, $8.5 million project to stop toxic algae in Ohio's largest inland lake isn't working.
The 13,000-acre Grand Lake St. Marys in western Ohio was sprayed with aluminum sulfate in April that was supposed to keep the blue-green algae from feeding on phosphorous in the water. A similar treatment was applied last year.
The Columbus Dispatch reports that this year's treatment was spoiled by high winds that helped stir phosphorus-rich mud from the lake bottom.