Algae Blooms on Lake Erie Getting Difficult to Control
Every summer, there is a vast blanket of algae being caused in Lake Erie, which threatens fisheries, tourism and even drinking water, such as those that cut off water supplies to hundreds of thousands of residents in Toledo, O H in August, 2014. It is said that, the algae problem was thought to have been successfully eliminated in the 1980s. However,in the late 1990s, the blooms returned due to farmers applying fertilizer on frozen fields in the winter, and spreading it instead of injecting it into the ground. In 2011, heavy spring rains washed so much phosphorus into the lake that the succeeding summer, algal bloom, at 1,920 square miles, was three times bigger than any previous one.
The algae bloom on Lake Erie in 2011, which was the worst in decades
Scientists thought that root causes of today’s algae problem is not the same as what caused algae blooms in decades past, even if the size and severity of the blooms is similar. The reason of the spread of algae is because of inefficient use of fertilizers around Lake Erie entering the water. Excess phosphorus, some of which are so toxic that they have killed dogs and sickened swimmers, in the water will provide the algae with nutrients it needs to grow exponentially. Thought the source of the phosphorus varies, many are convinced Lake Erie’s problems on the farm.
But How can Farmers Prevent Runoff from their Fields? Part of the answer is not overusing fertilizer.
1. Government regulation of fertilizer use is necessary
American government ordered big cuts in phosphorus pollution from factories and sewage plants. The best solution is the one that most efficiently solves the problem on a large scale, and provides incentives for businesses to become more sustainable. Related departments are doing this by increasing demand for grains grown using optimal fertilizer by addressing every point in the supply chain.
2. Controlling fertilizer runoff
It is an essential issue to improving efficiency in fertilizer applications. Technicians develop nutrient use efficiency programs to increase agricultural productivity while reducing nutrient losses to water and air.