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Environment


Great Lakes conference in Cleveland looking for solutions to key issues facing the lakes
Algae blooms and Asian carp high on agenda
by WKSU's KEVIN NIEDERMIER


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Kevin Niedermier
 
The annual Great Lakes Conference is in Cleveland this year. Attendees are tackling issues like algae blooms and preventing the Asian carp invasion. The conference runs through Thursday.
Courtesy of Kevin Niedermier
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In The Region:

Representatives from the Great Lakes states and Canada are in Cleveland this week to work on issues affecting the world’s largest body of fresh water. As WKSU’s Kevin Niedermier reports, the annual Great Lakes Conference is focusing on algae blooms and keeping the Asian carp out of the lakes.

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Phosphorus running off farm fields causes many of the algae blooms that can choke off life in lake waters. Dr. Jeff Reutter is head of Ohio State University’s Sea Grant program.  He says algae blooms are a bigger problem in Lake Erie that the other Great Lakes.  And, he says conference attendees recognize that research done on Lake Erie algae blooms, is important for the rest of the Great Lakes.

“Because what we see on Lake Erie is what’s headed to the other lakes if we don’t stop it here first. And the next likely places for it to occur would be Saginaw Bay, Green Bay, Lake St. Clair, any nutrient enriched harbor. From an Asian carp standpoint, there are a number of places in the Great Lakes where it could prosper, but none as likely as the western basin of Lake Erie.”

Reutter says stopping the Asian carp will require separating the Great Lakes basin from the Mississippi River basin, something that will take advanced science and tough policy decisions. And, he says the algae bloom problem could be resolved if farmers were required to use less phosphorus rich fertilizer, and better incorporate it into the soil.             
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