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Saturday, November 18, 2017

Toxic algae: Once a nuisance, now a severe nationwide threat

Competing in a bass fishing tournament two years ago, Todd Steele cast his rod from his 21-foot motorboat — unaware that he was being poisoned.

A thick, green scum coated western Lake Erie. And Steele, a semipro angler, was sickened by it.

Driving home to Port Huron, Michigan, he felt lightheaded, nauseous. By the next morning he was too dizzy to stand, his overheated body covered with painful hives. Hospital tests blamed toxic algae, a rising threat to U.S. waters.

“It attacked my immune system and shut down my body’s ability to sweat,” Steele said. “If I wasn’t a healthy 51-year-old and had some type of medical condition, it could have killed me.”

He recovered, but Lake Erie hasn’t. Nor have other waterways choked with algae that’s sickening people, killing animals and hammering the economy. The scourge is escalating from occasional nuisance to severe, widespread hazard, overwhelming government efforts to curb a leading cause: fertilizer runoff from farms.

Pungent, sometimes toxic blobs are fouling waterways from the Great Lakes to Chesapeake Bay, from the Snake River in Idaho to New York’s Finger Lakes and reservoirs in California’s Central Valley.

More here


Anonymous said...

It used to be back in the day if you had a cut the best thing was the salt water or even fresh water lakes, ponds for it. Now a days you are literally taking a chance on dying, losing a limb, getting very ill if you step in any body of water with an open cut or sore.
This because of all the manure runoff. Even China refuses to turn their land into a toxic waste dump so they can feed the world. How completely stupid that Americans allowed this and continue to allow.

Anonymous said...

Algae is only part of their current issues. Look into the Asia carp that has been migrating up rivers toward the Great Lakes. These fish have the potential to wreck the Great Lakes ecosystem.

Bigcountry said...

How come it's always blamed on farm run off,when there are only a small percentage of farms emptying into a watershed. Also there is less farmland now then year's past due to increased housing with a lot of them built on or around water with lush green grasses due to fertilizer not to mention the golf courses on every other corner. I guess pick on the ones with the least resources to fight back the poor struggling farmer.

Anonymous said...

Oh yes, the poor ol' millionaire mega farmers are really the ones to pitty... i do agree about the golf courses and rediculous use of fertilizer on lawns. Who the heck cares thst much about grass. People who have small wee wees do.

Anonymous said...

I have never seen this in the Chesapeake Bay in my 58 years

Anonymous said...

4:30 Get back on your tractor drive to the midwest or along the westside of the Mississippi river. There are millions upon millions of acres of farms. It is big business, not the shorebilly farming that goes on around here which y the way does pollute the environment too.