Harmful algal blooms (HABs) have been a serious issue in Lake Erie since the 1960s. The blooms, which are harmful to wildlife and humans (NOAA 2009), occur when phosphorus levels are high within the lake. Recently, HABs have been increasing in extent and intensity in the western basin of Lake Erie. The cyanobacteria Microcystis produces toxins that pose serious threats to animal and human health, resulting in beach closures and impaired water supplies, and have even forced a “do not drink” advisory for the City of Toledo water system for several days in the summer of 2014.
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