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Bowling Green gets $5.2 million grant to fight Lake Erie algae

Posted at 3:55 PM, Oct 30, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-30 18:18:12-04

That green stuff you've seen in pictures is not toxic sludge or old pea soup — it's algae. Algal blooms to be precise — they pop up in our greatest resource every single year. 

Algae and bacteria that can produce toxins can be harmful to humans and wildlife. 

Just a few years ago, in 2014, toxins from a bloom contaminated Toledo's water supply. 

This past summer blooms led to warnings and advisories on our local beaches more than once. 

RELATED: Several beaches under advisory due to algal blooms, bacteria levels

Governor Kasich's executive order made waves, ultimately intensifying the fight against blooms in Lake Erie and the research into them. 


Ohio governor signs executive order to fight harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie

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Now, there is a national study with a local center. The BGSU Lake Erie Center for Fresh Waters and Human Health was founded with a $5.2 million federal grant, bringing 10 universities together to target the problem and come up with solutions. 

RELATED: Read the full news release announcing the BGSU Lake Erie Center for Fresh Waters and Human Health here

"We are the lead institution," said Dr. Timothy Davis with Bowling Green University in a Skype interview with News 5 Tuesday.

Dr. Davis is a nationally recognized scientist and in the group leading the center there. 

The loss of recreational, drinking and agricultural resources in the United States because of blooms is worth more than $2 billion annually. 

"This has really elevated the severity of these blooms," Davis said.

Our lake isn't the only one dealing with algal blooms — take Florida, for example. 

"This was well-timed in the fact there's a lot of national momentum to develop long-term solutions to these water quality problems," Davis said. Their research and possible solutions could end up helping countries worldwide.

"Lake Erie is obviously unique and some of the management strategies we put in place are going to be specific to Lake Erie. But there are going to be some universal traits of these blooms that we can apply to any system," he explained.