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Ohio Environmental Council Statement on 2019 Assessment of Harmful Algal Blooms in Lake Erie

COLUMBUS, OH — Yesterday, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) researchers and academic partners released the final Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) seasonal assessment for Lake Erie. The 2019 bloom in Lake Erie had a severity of 7.3, which NOAA noted as “relatively severe.” The bloom was much greater than the bloom experienced in 2018 (3.6) and somewhat less than 2017 (8.0). 

In addition to Lake Erie, HABs were detected across the state this year at Buckeye Lake in Licking and Fairfield counties, Grand Lake Saint Mary in Mercer County, Lake White in Pike County, and along the Ohio River.

The following statement can be attributed in full or in part to Pete Bucher, Water Resources Director at the Ohio Environmental Council:

“In the face of climate change, the complexity of Ohio’s harmful algae problems become even more complex and urgent. As we saw this year, record rainfalls continue to highlight the need to manage both phosphorus and water on our landscapes.It’s no secret that climate change creates more extreme weather events, and rainy years like this year could very well be the new normal in Ohio.

“Harmful algal blooms continue to put Ohio waterways at risk and threaten both the quality and safety of our drinking water. To achieve a future free of harmful algal blooms, we must take an all-of-the-above approach today that is pragmatic, science-based and strategic to protect our waterways for all Ohioans. Environmental, agricultural, academic, and regulatory leaders must find collaborative solutions that are a win for our people, our environment and our economy.”