Great Lakes News

Great Lakes News

Zebra Mussels Fuel Lake Erie’s Algae Bloom

15-Oct-2014

National news has exploded with reports of the toxic algae bloom covering Lake Erie near northern Ohio and the emergency water ban surrounding cities faced. But what reports often fail to mention is the primary source of the toxic algae outbreak: Zebra and quagga mussels.

These mollusks are aquatic invasive species that cling to the sides of boats and have spread like wildfire throughout the Great Lakes. They remove sediment and food particles and suck natural resources out of the waters and, in effect, have endangered native species.

One thing that they don’t collect, however, is the toxic algae rapidly forming in Lake Erie.

While the water ban in Toledo, Ohio is now over, the algae problem isn’t going away anytime soon — and definitely not with the help of its main allies, the zebra and quagga mussels.

Another contributing factor to the algae blooms is excess phosphorous in the lake due to fertilizer runoff.

McGard