Farming

Great Lakes agriculture generates more than $15 billion a year and it accounts for 7 percent of total U.S. food production. But fertilizer runoff from farm fields is a major source of pollution in the lakes.

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NOAA

​As scientists forecast a significant algae bloom in Lake Erie this summer, environmental groups are calling for tougher government policies to reduce pollution from farms.


Elizabeth Miller/ideastream

Part 3 in a series about President Trump's budget 

A lot of attention has focused on President Trump's proposal to eliminate funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which doles out $300 million a year for various projects. But his "skinny budget" has other cuts -- including the National Sea Grant program -- that would affect the region.


The buildup of nutrients in western Lake Erie can trigger algae growth – and contaminate drinking water in nearby cities.  That happened as recently as 2014, when Toledo residents could not drink their water for two days.

Researchers say agriculture is largely to blame, so Ohio is requiring farmers to take special training. But it’s not clear that approach will work.

President Donald Trump took aim Tuesday at a rule that outlines the reach of the Clean Water Act, saying the rule was a "massive power grab" by federal regulators. But six attorneys general vowed to fight the rollback -- with lawsuits if necessary.

Researchers are refining a system to predict the strength and movement of harmful algae blooms that plague Lake Erie during the summer. The blooms can be dangerous -- fouling beaches and threatening drinking water, especially at the western end of the lake. 

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