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OEC Reaction to 2021 Lake Erie Harmful Algal Bloom Forecast

Columbus, OH— Today, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) researchers and academic partners released their final harmful algal bloom projection for the Western Lake Erie Basin.

At this time, scientists project that the 2021 Lake Erie bloom will have a severity of 3, but the uncertainty in these forecasts indicates a potential severity of up to 4.5 (The 2020 Lake Erie harmful algal bloom projection was rated at a severity of 4.5). According to NOAA, there is still uncertainty in the projected maximum severity because of limitations in forecasting the exact location and amount of rainfall the rest of May. As scientists add data over the next two months, this uncertainty will decrease.

In addition to Lake Erie, algal blooms have been found across the state of Ohio in the past, including in the Ohio River, Buckeye Lake in Licking and Fairfield counties, and Grand Lake Saint Mary in Mercer County.

In response, the following quote can be attributed to Pete Bucher, Managing Director of Water Policy for the Ohio Environmental Council:

“As we continue to see each summer, harmful algal blooms put Lake Erie and Ohio waterways at risk. Even a less severe bloom, as forecasted for the Western Lake Erie basin this year, can threaten the quality and safety of Ohio families’ drinking water and recreational opportunities, while also hurting our environment and economy. 

“We must continue to work collaboratively and with urgency to eliminate this threat and protect Ohio’s water resources. Going forward, synchronizing all of the ongoing efforts to protect Lake Erie —including the H2Ohio Program, Domestic Action Plan for Lake Erie, and Maumee Watershed Total Maximum Daily Load plan—will be critical to meeting our phosphorus reduction commitments by 2025.”


About the Ohio Environmental Council: The Ohio Environmental Council (OEC) is the state’s most comprehensive and effective environmental advocate for a healthier, more sustainable Ohio. The OEC develops and ensures the implementation of forward-thinking, science-based, pragmatic solutions to secure healthy air, land, and water for all who call Ohio home. Learn more at

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