Farmers understand that Lake Erie turns green in the summer and that part of the blame is rightfully being directed at agriculture due to issues related to nutrient management, specifically phosphorus. What is less understood is why this is happening.
In a time period where on-farm phosphorus application levels have decreased substantially and recommended conservation practices have increased in the agricultural landscape, the troubling harmful algal blooms again started showing up in the Western Basin of Lake Erie after many thought the water quality issues had been corrected decades earlier.
Even more confusing are the smaller lakes in more remote parts of the state and country where algal blooms are showing up in lakes surrounded with little to no agriculture to blame on the issue. There are numerous theories as to why this could be happening. One of them was a topic in a study published in the Journal of Soil and Water Conservation last summer: “A possible trade-off between clean air and clean water.”
Douglas R.… Continue reading