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Environment & Energy

Plan to Upgrade the Early Warning System for Lake Erie Algal Blooms Gets a Boost

Satellite view of algae August 3, 2014
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
This is a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration satellite image of Lake Erie algae during the 2014 Toledo, Ohio, water crisiss.

Nearly $600,000 in federal grant money is on its way to improve the early warning system for algal blooms in Lake Erie.  The funding will be used to upgrade data gathering and public access to what’s learned.

The dollars are going to the Great Lakes Observing System, which coordinates information from federal, state and local agencies monitoring the lake.

One of the monitoring devices in Great Lakes Observing System
Credit GLOS website
This is one of the data-gathering buoys deployed in Lake Erie as a part of the Great Lakes Observing System.

GLOS Communications Director Kristin Schrader said the plan is to refine analysis of lake data so that algal blooms are spotted early and that warnings about them are accurate.

Schrader said only some algae poses a health risk, and the public needs to when and where that is. 

“As long as they know that water where they are is safe to go into, there’s no reason for people not to be in the water, or swim in the water, or fish it it, or take their pets in it, or anything else. That’s what the technology is designed to provide, that information,” she said.

The grant is from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.