Great Lakes News

Great Lakes News

Officials Aim to Reduce Phosphorus Runoff by 40 Percent in Lake Erie


On February 22, the U.S. and Canadian governments announced a joint goal of reducing phosphorus runoff in Lake Erie by 40 percent within the next two years. Excess phosphorus has led to massive algal blooms that have killed fish and fouled water — such as in 2014, when algal blooms left more than 400,000 in Toledo, Ohio and southeastern Michigan unable to drink tap water for two days.

“The adoption of the phosphorus reduction loading targets for Lake Erie is a critical step towards the restoration of Lake Erie,” Mike Shriberg, regional executive director for the National Wildlife Federation, said in a statement. 

The phosphorus feeding the algal blooms primarily comes from fertilizers and livestock manure from regional farms. However, sewage from urban treatment plants and faulty septic tanks also contribute. The U.S.-Canadian deal targets runoff in the hardest-hit areas: Ohio, Michigan and Ontario.

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[Photo from NOAA

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