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Algal blooms on the rise in US waterways

Toxic algal blooms continue to be a problem in Lake Erie and other US waterways, according to a new report from the Environmental Working Group.

Craig Cox, a leader with the organization, says runoff from farms and other sources is a contributor…

“The primary source of the phosphorus, the fertilizer that actually triggers these algal blooms, is running off of farming operations,” he says. “But, it’s not the only source.”

He tells Brownfield farmers are implementing more practices to prevent runoff, but more must be done.

The study says that since 2010 there have been 300 blooms recorded in US waterways, and more than half of those were reported in 2017.

Algal blooms were the reason that the Ohio EPA declared Lake Erie’s Western Basin as an impaired waterway in March.

In a recent Senate Ag Committee hearing, Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown asked Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue to continue investing in conservation programs that help farmers prevent runoff.

“Farmers want to do the right thing on conservation,” he says.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt was also asked by lawmakers recently what steps the EPA will take to address algal blooms under the Clean Water Act.

For more information on the report visit: https://www.ewg.org/toxicalgalblooms/.

Audio: Craig Cox, The Environmental Working Group 

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