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Experts review the status of the fight against harmful algae

Fourteen leaders in the fight against harmful algal blooms (HABs) will convene in Toledo on Sept. 15 to share the latest information on protecting water quality.

Scheduled for 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the Stranahan Center, 4645 Heatherdowns Blvd., registration for Understanding Algal Blooms: State of the Science Conference is $20, including lunch, and free for students.

Harmful algal blooms are caused by a combination of warm water temperatures and high concentrations of phosphorus in the water. The blooms can produce dangerous toxins, such as microcystin. Toledo residents lost access to drinking water for two days in August 2014 due to high microcystin levels.

Conference presenters will focus on how to prevent and predict HABs, and how to remove toxins from drinking water. Hosted by Ohio State University’s Sea Grant and Stone Laboratory, College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Ohio State University Extension, presenters include representatives from agencies, universities and environmental organizations.

Greg LaBarge, agronomic crops field specialist for CFAES and Ohio State University Extension, will present information on a farmer-led water quality monitoring effort. LaBarge is working with about 100 farmers representing 5,000 acres in the Western Lake Erie Basin to measure how much dissolved reactive phosphorus (DRP) moves out of fields.

“Farmers will be able to see how much dissolved reactive phosphorus leaves individual fields so they can target high risk fields with best management practices,” LaBarge said.  The study will also look at how specific practices influence water quality results.

For more information and to register for the conference, visit go.osu.edu/stateofalgalblooms.

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