BGSU faculty work was key to impaired designation for Lake Erie

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS Ohio’s Environmental Protection Agency and Gov. John Kasich have designated the western basin of Lake Erie – from Toledo to Marblehead – as an impaired waterway due to toxic algae. This designation comes after consultation with experts from Bowling Green State University, among other organizations. “This is a great first step, a recognition of the fact that these blooms are impairing Lake Erie,” said Dr. Timothy Davis, BGSU associate professor of biological sciences. “This is clearly the right decision.” Davis and Drs. George Bullerjahn, Professor of Research Excellence, and Michael McKay, Ryan Endowed Professor, all in the Department of Biological Sciences were part of the team that developed the criteria used to declare the open waters of the western basin of Lake Erie impaired. This included determining what metrics should be used and how they should be used. “We’ve known for a while that these blooms have been a major issue to the region, and this is really a formal acknowledgement of that issue,” Davis said. “It gives us a benchmark to work toward to delist it.” “It’s going to take significant nutrient reduction from the watershed to remove the impairment designation,” Davis said. “In conjunction with Annex 4, which recommends a 40 percent phosphorus reduction, we will now have great targets to aim for to reduce the impact harmful algal blooms are having in the western basin of Lake Erie.” The team advising the Ohio EPA also included scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Ohio State University’s Sea Grant College Program, the University of Toledo and the U.S. EPA in making this determination. Lake Erie — its water, inhabitants and surrounding habitat — has long been the topic of research by BGSU biology faculty. Bullerjahn, Davis and McKay all have a deep history of expertise in and support of Lake Erie water quality research and support. Davis has worked with the EPA previously; he was appointed to the agency’s Board of Scientific Counselors (BOSC), a federal advisory committee that provides advice,…

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