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Moderate cyanobacterial bloom predicted for Lake Erie this summer

Mark Brush
Michigan Radio

Western Lake Erie is expected to see only a moderate bloom of cyanobacteria this summer. The cyanobacteria can produce toxins that are harmful for people and pets.

Scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and regional institutions predict the 2020 summer cyanobacterial bloom will be among the smallest since 2011.

“While we’re definitely better than last year we’re still forecasting we will be above the target,” says Rick Stumpf, with the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science. 

But Stumpf says agricultural runoff from the Maumee River watershed is still a problem. Policymakers are hoping to reduce the size of the bloom that is tied to agricultural runoff.

Cyanobacteria has become a recurring problem in the lake that serves as a fresh water source for communities in Michigan, Ohio and Ontario.

In 2014, the city of Toledo was forced to temporarily shut down its water system because of a cyanobacterial bloom.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Radio since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.