As the 2017 algae bloom approaches, there is rising concern for the communities who depend on Lake Erie for drinking water, tourism and recreational activities. The algae bloom typically lasts from mid-July through mid-October. Last week, the NOAA announced their final forecast for this summer's bloom and it doesn't look promising.
Phosphorus is the main nutrient causing the bloom of toxic algae. Runoff from farms washes excess manure and fertilizer containing high levels of phosphorus into local streams and rivers that feed Lake Erie.
Although there is already an agreement in place between U.S. governors in Michigan, Ohio and the Canadian Premier of Ontario to reduce the amount of phosphorus from runoff by 40% by 2025, these agreements require voluntary cooperation by farmers. With harmful algae production seeming inevitable for the foreseeable future, many people are left wondering why these regulations are not mandatory. What do you think about mandatory fertilizer regulations for farms whose runoff can enter the Great Lakes?