Buffalo, NY, August 5, 2014 - New York Sea Grant Coastal Education Specialist Helen Domske spoke with WBEN 930 AM Radio about water quality conerns for Lake Erie residents on both ends - in New York and Ohio.
"How has the issue that has impacted folks in Toledo, OH found its way to Buffalo's end of Lake Erie?"
"Although algae is very important for the health of the Lake, certain types of algae can actually produce a toxin," said Domske. In this case, the algae is Microcystis and the toxin is called Microcystin.
"Normally, the western shallow basin of Lake Erie has been seeing these blooms, but much later in the summer," said Domske. "We believe the blooms are caused by a combination of factors, such as increased lake temperature, runoff from farms, sewage and people's yards." If the fertilizers that people use on their lawns find their way into lake, they do just what you would expect them to do - make things grow.
"Unfortunately, the bad algae grows very quickly and the good algae is being eaten by a lot of the invasive mussels in the lake," said Domske. "And the mussels are smart enough to spit the bad algae out, and so that type of algae is not getting consumed. But the good algae is, so it makes for more availabilty for this Microcystis."
In the case of Toledo, Domske said there was a series of days of heavy winds during which all the algae at the top of the Lake was pushed close to the water intake.
So, why didn't Buffalo have the same issue? For more, listen to audio clip, which you can stream below.
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New York Sea Grant (NYSG), a cooperative program of Cornell University
and the State University of New York, is one of 33 university-based
programs under the National Sea Grant College Program (NSGCP) of the
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The NSGCP
engages this network of the nation’s top universities in conducting
scientific research, education, training and extension projects designed
to foster science-based decisions about the use and conservation of our
aquatic resources. Through its statewide network of integrated
services, NYSG has been promoting coastal vitality, environmental
sustainability, and citizen awareness about the State’s marine and Great
Lakes resources since 1971.
For updates on Sea Grant activities: www.nyseagrant.org has RSS, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube links. NYSG also offers a free e-list sign up via www.nyseagrant.org/coastlines for NY Coastlines, its flagship publication, which merged with our e-newsletter, Currents, in 2014 - is published several times a year.