Harmful Algal Bloom in Western Basin of Lake Erie: September 20, 2017. Photo by Aerial Associates Photography, Inc. by Zachary Haslick.

Algal bloom prediction low again for Lake Erie

The 2022 algal bloom is expected to have a low severity index of 3.5, according to the final forecast from the National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration. This forecast uses an ensemble of different models, which consider phosphorus loading into the lake during the spring and early summer.
If realized, this will be the fourth year out of the past seven that the algal bloom will be rated less than 4 on a scale of 1 (mild) to 10 (severe).

Recent soil test data from The Fertilizer Institute found that the number of soil samples tested for Ohio increased from about 69,000 in 2001 to nearly 274,000 in 2020. Over the same period, the median soil test phosphorus levels dropped from 38 to 26 parts per million (Mehlich 3).

With the expansion of the H2Ohio water quality initiative and the growth of the Ohio Agriculture Conservation Initiative certification program, both designed to help farmers find more and better nutrient management practices, efforts will continue to advance across Ohio, according to Jordan Hoewischer, director of water quality and research with Ohio Farm Bureau.

“For years the farmer’s work has been judged on whether a body of water is green or not, but it doesn’t represent the improvements being made year over year,” Hoewischer said. “The research is telling us that Ohio agriculture has made progress on the water quality front and more education and upgraded technology should result in continued positive results.”

NOAA will release the final algal bloom statistics for 2022 in September.

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