August 1, 2019 Algal Bloom

This was the beach a Magee Marsh Wildlife Area today. Not the worst algal bloom I have seen, but an algal bloom nonetheless. I guess it was inevitable that we were going to have a big bloom about now with the rain that we have had in the spring and early summer, but it still hurts to see the lake suffering.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Lake Erie Harmful Algal Bloom Bulletin acknowledges that the Microcystis cyanobacteria bloom is continuing in the western basin of Lake Erie. Sentinel imagery from July 30 shows the bloom extending from Maumee Bay north along the Michigan coast to Pointe Mouillee, east along the Ohio coast to the Portage River, and offshore up to eight miles east of West Sister Island. Observed winds on July 31 promoted mixing, reducing surface concentrations and scums. Measured toxin concentrations have increased since last week and exceed the recreational threshold where the bloom is most dense.

NOAA’s forecast states that the winds today and tomorrow will promote further mixing of surface Microcystis. The winds this weekend (August 3 and August 4) may promote scum formation and eastward transport of surface Microcystis concentrations.

watershed map

The dark red line indicated the watershed area of Lake Erie. Anything that goes into the ground, stream, river, or pond in this area will end up in the lake. It seems easier for those of us who do not see the lake every day to forget, but the consequences are dire.

To subscribe to the Lake Erie Harmful Algal Bloom Bulletin, visit tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/hab/lakeerie.html.

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