Ohio American scientists regularly monitor Lake Erie throughout the year to establish the risk of toxic blue-green algae.
The algal bloom is considered to lead to severe consequences on businesses depending on the lake, communities, coastlines, animals, and humans as well, according to the United States National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration.
The toxic blue-green algae thrive in warmer waters. The leading cause of the algal bloom usually comes from high levels of phosphorus in the lake waters.
More concerning is that blue-green algae consume tremendous amounts of oxygen, leading to ‘dead zones,’ isolated areas where fish and other water creatures can die due to low levels of oxygen.
Health officials always warn pet owners to prevent their dogs from swimming in contaminated waters as there is a higher risk for these animals to die.
Dogs swallow significant amounts of water when they swim, so they will most likely ingest the toxic algae as well.
According to the experts from the United States Centre For Disease Control and Prevention, people who drink infected water or swim in it may develop symptoms such as allergic responses, skin irritation, and gastroenteritis.
These symptoms can be even more dangerous for kids, pregnant women, seniors, and people with weak immune systems. The algal bloom usually reduces fish numbers, clogs boat motors, and stinks up harbors.
According to Raj Bejankiwar, International Joint Commission scientist who studies and monitors algae activity in Lake Erie and the water condition throughout the year, experts will most likely predict that this year’s algal bloom will be quite small compared with the blooms from previous years.
More precisely, he thinks that the algal bloom will score a level three on the severity index on a scale from zero to ten. A level 5 severity index would mean that the algal bloom is a grave threat to the water ecosystem and the local communities.
The bloom usually reaches the highest peak in August because it thrives in warmer temperatures.
Blue-green algae are always a concern because the bloom prevents people from enjoying recreational activities and it can also affect the drinking water, which is a vital source for lake residents.
Hopefully, the waters of Lake Erie will not experience a large bloom of toxic blue-green algae this summer. The health status of the lake waters also depends on weather and on a low level of runoff which usually leads to the development of this pest.