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Environment & Climate Change

Scientists propose ways to measure Great Lakes water quality

The Great Lakes from space in April 2003.
NASA
/
The Great Lakes from space in April 2003.

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. - A U.S.-Canadian agency is considering additional ways to measure the safety of Great Lakes water for drinking and activities such as swimming and fishing.

The proposals were developed by researchers with the International Joint Commission, which advises both nations on issues involving shared waterways.

Scientists who advise the commission say assuring good water quality in the Great Lakes will require accurate measurements of not just treated drinking water, but also the sources of that water.

Also needed is a good accounting of phosphorus flows into the lakes from major tributaries. Phosphorus contributes to harmful algae blooms that have plagued sections of Lakes Erie, Huron and Michigan.

Additionally, the researchers call for close monitoring of invasive Asian carp, which might out-compete native fish species if they infest the Great Lakes.

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