Top scenario is adoption of agricultural best management practices
Harmful algal blooms dangerous to human health and the Lake Erie ecosystem—such as the one that shut down Toledo’s water supply for two days in 2014—could become a problem of the past.
A new report shows that if farmers apply agricultural best management practices (BMPs) on half the cropland in the Maumee River watershed, the amount of total phosphorus and dissolved reactive phosphorus leaving the watershed would drop by 40 percent in an average rainfall year—the amount agreed to in the 2012 Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement between the U.S. and Canada.
Scientists believe that a drop of this magnitude would keep algal blooms at safe levels for people and the lake.
“With aggressive adoption of best management practices, it is possible to reduce harmful algal blooms to safe levels while maintaining agricultural productivity,” said Jay Martin, ecological engineer in The Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences and co-author of the study.