A toxic algae bloom that appears each summer in the western basin of Lake Erie is the worst in recorded history researchers say. The bloom—which has prompted officials to prompt warning signs along the Ohio shoreline and Kelly’s Island—is twice as thick and has lasted longer than the previous record-holder, a bloom from 2009.
The blue-green algae bloom threatens to decimate a $10 billion tourism industry in an area already ravaged by economic stagnation. In addition to being toxic to humans and pets, the blooms consume oxygen from the water, creating “dead-zones” in which fish cannot survive.
Algae blooms feed on phosphorus—a key component found in manure and fertilizer run-off that washes into rivers and streams feeding into Lake Erie.