Action Alert: Organizing the Response to Great Lakes Algal Blooms

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.

Algal blooms have plagued the Great Lakes over the last several years, with funding to fight the problem coming from multiple agencies at both the state and national level. Representative Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) has introduced legislation to create a Great Lakes Algal Bloom Coordinator, a position that we have called for that would help organize the response to the threat of algal blooms to the lakes. Rep. Tim Ryan recently sent out a Dear Colleague letter in support of the Great Lakes Algal Bloom Coordinator, and we’d like your help in urging your Representatives to co-sponsor Rep. Ryan’s bill (the Great Lakes Harmful Algal Bloom Coordinator Act, H.R. 1923). The text of the letter is at the bottom of this email – the current cosponsors include Reps. Tim Ryan, David Joyce (R-Ohio), Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), and Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio).

You may contact your Representative via twitter, or through the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121

Below are a few talking points:

  • Algal blooms in the Great Lakes are caused by excess phosphorous runoff from farms, urban areas, and sewer overflows.
  • Toxic algal blooms are a serious problem in the Great Lakes. In 2014, nearly half a million residents of southeast Michigan and northwest Ohio were banned from drinking municipal water due to an algal bloom.
  • Toxic algal blooms are a problem that have the potential to affect the 30 million people in the region who depend on the Great Lakes for drinking water.
  • Algal blooms not only affect drinking water, they also negatively impact jobs and the economy that depend on clean water. Just one charter boat captain this year lost $15,000.
  • A Great Lakes Algal Bloom Coordinator would help make the efforts to reduce nutrient pollution and reduce algal blooms as effective and efficient as possible

 

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