Last we left our Lake Erie algae bloom, it looked something like this:
There it is in the west side of Lake Erie. Expanding. Festering.
Now states are issuing warnings about high levels of toxicity in the water because of toxic algae blooms like the one seen above.
New, heightened warnings have been issued for Lake Erie, as tests show increased levels of toxic algae in the water.
Signs have been posted at Maumee Bay State Park, warning visitors not to swim in the water and to avoid touching the surface scum.
"Right now in Lake Erie, we have the worst alga bloom that we've had since I started working on Lake Erie, since I started working on Lake Erie in 2002," said Thomas Bridgeman, ecologist with the University of Toledo, "The bloom of 2011 is at least two and half times greater than the previous largest bloom."
The algae bloom, commonly called blue-green algae, is toxic to mammals, damaging the liver.
Okay. But why is this happening?
Once again, we go back to recent studies about how zebra and quagga mussels are focusing increasing amounts of phosphorous and other toxins near the lakeshore, helping to focus more algae blooms near the lake shore even though total lake phosphorous levels may be down.
Zebra and quagga mussels eat algae, but can pass up the stuff they can't eat, leaving only the toxic algae to infest the lakes.
We're seeing this happening RIGHT NOW in Lake Erie.
This isn't just random academic stuff. This is happening right now in part of the Great Lakes.
Part of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is focusing on finding long term ways to battle invasive species, though it's unlikely they can be eliminated. Funding for continuation of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is currently uncertain due to the crazed individuals currently demanding cuts, cuts, and more cuts in penny-wise pound-fooling game. Ironically, many of the most recent congressional members of this slash and burn policy are from Great Lakes States like Michigan, Wisconsin, and Ohio. Huizenga is my congressman, who SHOULD be representing our interests here as one of a few lake shore representatives. One might imagine they'd have an understanding of how critical these bodies of water are to our region's economic well being and our way of life.....but we've seen their economic theology is more than willing to sacrifice everything, even our waters and our lakes, to provide more tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires.