NCCOS-sponsored scientists with the hypoxia Ecological Forecasting Project in Lake Erie are presenting research findings related to Best Management Practices (BMPs), phosphorus loading, and climate interactions in the western Lake Erie watershed to the Western Lake Erie Basin Partnership on June 20 in Toledo, Ohio. NCCOS scientists will also present the methodology behind NOAA's seasonal forecast for cyanobacteria blooms in western Lake Erie (2013 forecast to be made the beginning of July). The Western Lake Erie Partnership is a tri-state and Federal partnership dedicated to enhancing multi-purpose projects that improve land and water resource management in the basin and promote a healthy, productive watershed.
The NCCOS Lake Erie hypoxia forecasting project uses models to forecast how multiple stresses influence hypoxia formation and the ecology of Lake Erie's Central Basin. With an emphasis on fish production, the models integrate multiple interacting factors that create hypoxia on Lake Erie; things such as surface water flow, phosphorus input, climate variation, fish movement patterns and fish and invasive mussel biology. The forecasts are conducted within an Integrated Assessment framework, a formal approach to synthesizing existing natural and social scientific information useful to natural resources managers. Recent model results show the need to modify existing BMPs to counteract factors such as increased agriculture for feed and biofuels, more fertilizer usage, and higher phosphorus runoff combined with abundant rainfall.