Great Lakes Today

NOAA

The more rain we have this spring, the bigger the Lake Erie algae bloom this summer -- and it’s been a wet spring.

Algae blooms in western Lake Erie are primarily due to excess nutrients from fertilizer chemicals running off farm land.  Some blooms can become toxic, shutting down beaches or sickening people and pets.

Rain helps phosphorus travel from farms to the lake through rivers including the Maumee in western Ohio – and tracking from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration can predict the size of an algae bloom.

Elizabeth Miller/ideastream

Before water contamination emergencies hit Flint, Mich., a crisis in Canada became deadly.

When E. coli invaded the drinking water in Walkerton, half of the town became ill and seven people died. That led to a turnaround in the way the community treats its water and trains workers. 

But a question lingers: Does Walkerton’s tragedy still resonate in the U.S.?

  

Courtesy of Cleveland Water Alliance

The Erie Hack competition is over, with $40,000 and consulting services awarded to Micro Buoy, a team from Wayne State University in Detroit. 

The team’s idea is a nano-sensor that can be attached to a buoy that will be able to detect temperature, lead, and nutrients like phosphorus and nitrogen. 

Lots of people were already upset about President Trump’s plan to slash Great Lakes funding in next year’s federal budget.  Now he’s recommending a $50 million cut to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative for this year.  


Groups representing mayors, governors, and Great Lakes states are descending on Washington this week to push back against reported budget cuts for environmental programs. 

Tuesday begins three days of speakers and presentations at the Great Lakes Commission’s semi-annual meeting. It also means three days of meetings with Congress and the Trump administration to promote the region’s priorities, including money for infrastructure and an initiative to restore the health of the lakes.

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