With summer upon us and ongoing legislative and administrative discussions related to protecting Lake Erie continuing in Columbus, the Ohio State University’s Stone Lab has released a new study identifying a new algal threat in the central basin of Lake Erie. The presence of the new bacterial causes additional concern because 1) it is also a neurotoxin with severe implications for environment, health, and the lakefront economy, 2) most water treatment facilities do not currently test for it or have the ability to test for it without expensive facility upgrades, and 3) presence of the toxin in the central basin goes against some of the traditional things we’ve come to understand regarding the algal growth- scientists don’t yet understand how it is growing. The study is available to the public but has also been presented in several media stories such as this one in the Akron Beacon Journal and this one in Science Daily.
In a media release, OLG President Tony Yankel pointed out that this news ads a new dimension of urgency to the pleas of lakefront property owners to resolve permitting processes and protect the lake’s shoreline. Yankel stated, “We are closely reviewing the Stone Lab report, which indicates that the muddier waters of the central basin are an underlying cause of this new toxin. This is a strong argument for reducing sediment. In this time of extremely high water, shoreline protection is being destroyed, resulting in unprecedented amounts of land and sediment going into the lake. If ODNR continues to frustrate efforts to permit shoreline protection, nothing will stop the massive amounts of land loss and sedimentation taking place.”