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NOAA issues bleak forecast for Lake Erie's algae bloom

Jul 12, 2019

The harmful algal bloom in 2017 was an 8.0 on the severity index, compared to this year's prediction of 7.5.
Credit NOAA

Experts have released a forecast for the severity of Lake Erie’s algal blooms.

This year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association predicts the algal bloom will be pretty severe – a 7.5 out of 10.

"It means that we need to accelerate our efforts," says Gail Hesse, director of Great Lakes water programs for the National Wildlife Federation.

"We know what the right practices are for abating the runoff and in particular some of the key agricultural practices, we just don’t have them on the ground at a large enough or significant enough scale to make a water quality difference."

NOAA says weather will also play a roll in this year’s bloom. Heavy rainfall has kept lake temperatures low, which means the bloom isn’t expected until late-July.

The severity is based on bloom size, which doesn’t necessarily indicate toxicity.

Lake Erie isn’t alone in its algae troubles. Earlier this week, harmful algal blooms were reported on Cayuga Lake in Seneca County.