Experimental Harmful Algal Bloom Forecast May Reduce Impacts to Residents
A recent series of experimental harmful algal bloom forecasts alerted resource managers in the Great Lakes to a Microcystis spp. (also referred to as “blue-green algae”) bloom in the region, allowing them to take preemptive measures to reduce impacts. Since July 30, 2009, the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS), in collaboration with the NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, have released a weekly forecast for western Lake Erie to local health officials, water treatment managers, natural resource managers, and several research scientists in the area. As a result, increased filtration of drinking water in the area may be undertaken to lessen taste and odor issues associated with previous blooms, and waterfront recreational areas may have warnings posted. Microcystis spp. often forms dense blooms that can discolor the water, cause taste and odor issues in drinking water, and can negatively affect humans and animals through their potential to produce hepatotoxins (liver-damaging toxins).