Time to clean up Lake Erie's eerie waters

Sunday’s Globe and Mail Editorial on Lake Erie (Time to clean up Lake Erie’s eerie waters, July 19 2015) shines a much needed spotlight on a critical issue affecting the health and drinking water of millions of people. Predictions suggest that this year’s toxic algae bloom may be among the most severe ever.  

Last year’s bloom shut down the drinking water supply in Toledo, Ohio. On Pelee Island, it led to beach closures and a public health advisory to not use the lake water. Harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie have now reached a tipping point where they pose a serious threat to the quality of life and the economic vitality of the region.

Cleaning up Lake Erie’s waters is going to require a sizable collective effort and long term commitment across two countries, five states, and the province of Ontario, as well as many communities and stakeholders. As Sunday’s editorial points out, the good news is we have done it before. Coordinated action proved the 1970s claim that “Lake Erie was dead” wrong -- and thankfully it still boasts the largest commercial fishery of all the Great Lakes. Lake Erie’s challenges have escalated but with coordinated action and a focus on solutions that will drive reductions in nutrient pollution, we can keep “Lake Erie Alive” once more. 

Raj Gill, Great Lakes Organizer, Canadian Freshwater Alliance

Jill Ryan, Executive Director, Freshwater Future