Groups Work curbing Lake Erie algae need to target hotspots

FILE - In this Aug. 3, 2014, file photo, the City of Toledo water intake crib is surrounded by algae in Lake Erie, about 2.5 miles off the shore of Curtice, Ohio. Toledo has detected the first signs in Lake Erie of the dangerous toxin that resulted in a water crisis last year that left 400,000 people in northwestern Ohio and southeastern Michigan without safe tap water for two days announced Monday, July 27, 2015. (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari, File)
FILE - In this Aug. 3, 2014, file photo, the City of Toledo water intake crib is surrounded by algae in Lake Erie, about 2.5 miles off the shore of Curtice, Ohio. Toledo has detected the first signs in Lake Erie of the dangerous toxin that resulted in a water crisis last year that left 400,000 people in northwestern Ohio and southeastern Michigan without safe tap water for two days announced Monday, July 27, 2015. (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari, File)

TOLEDO, Oh. – Groups working to solve Lake Erie’s algae outbreaks agree that a key step will be targeting areas that are sending much of the algae-feeding phosphorus into the lake.

Researchers say the bulk of the phosphorus comes from less than half of the farmland in the western Lake Erie region that’s mainly in Ohio and parts of Indiana and Michigan.

These hotspots are where the huge amounts of phosphorus from farm fertilizer and livestock manure are washed into the lake’s tributaries.

This year’s algae bloom in western Lake Erie was much smaller than last year’s record-setting bloom.

That’s because there was a lot less rainfall in the spring and early summer, keeping more fertilizer on the ground and out of the water.

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