Threats from Polluted Runoff

Heavy rain and snowmelt washes pollution from farm fields and cities into streams, rivers and sewage drains. So-called non-point source pollution—which includes pesticides, fertilizers, oil, grease and other pollutants—ultimately ends up in the Great Lakes, harming water quality and posing a risk to people, fish and wildlife. Great Lakes programs that restore native vegetation and wetlands in both rural and urban communities can prevent polluted run-off and protect water quality. Read more about polluted runoff and the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

This satellite image shows the 2011 toxic algae bloom in Lake Erie. At its peak, the bloom cover 990 miles of the lake's surface area. Photo credit: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

This satellite image shows the 2011 toxic algae bloom in Lake Erie. At its peak, the bloom cover 990 miles of the lake’s surface area. Photo credit: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

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