There's a silver lining to this year's bright green algae bloom on Lake Erie. "But it's clear that more aggressive action is needed, especially to reduce or eliminate the algae blooms that have marred the Western Basin for years".
Kasich and OH legislators have been considering tighter restrictions on farmers since the 2014 algae bloom caused Toledo to be without drinking water for three days.
State Rep. Craig Riedel, R-Defiance, who spoke at the township association meeting, said the move would mean more fertilizer regulations for farmers in the area.
"We are expecting there will be a significant bloom", NOAA oceanographer Rick Stumpf said in the presentation.
But just because there's algae on the lake doesn't mean people should stay away, Stumpf said. "The toxins in a large bloom may not be as concentrated as in a smaller bloom", the report notes.
The shallowest Great Lake will have a less severe algae outbreak than last summer, OH researchers said Thursday in their 2018 forecast of harmful algal blooms. "Last year, they predicted a seven and it ended up being an eight".
Winslow said the numerical score of "6" on the severity index addresses the expected size of the bloom, but it can't predict where it will be in the lake.
Laura Johnson, Heidelberg University's National Center for Water Quality Research director, said this year's phosphorus runoff is consistent with past years that have had similar amounts of rain.
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Algae forecasters used an ensemble of six different modelling techniques to shape this year's prediction, Stumpf said.
Where the bloom will go on the lake's western end along OH and MI will vary based on wind direction, but researchers point out that most of the lake will be fine for boaters and swimmers.
"There's basically a certain amount of fuel out there for the algae now", Mr. Bridgeman said.
Expressing disappointment in Kasich's announcement, the Ohio Farm Bureau estimates the order could regulate more than 2 million acres of northwest Ohio farmland.
"They're effective, but there's not enough implementation", Ms. Johnson said. Excessive phosphorus - a nutrient present in fertilizers and manure that can be washed from farm fields by rain - is a major cause of the blooms.
But Ms. Johnson said that while she hasn't had time to study Mr. Kasich's executive order in depth yet, she believes the general concept of having farmers in distressed sub-watersheds do more to control manure releases makes sense.
He said the bloom cost OH millions of dollars in lost tourism and recreation value, as well as water-treatment costs.