For more than a decade, algal blooms have turned many Ohio waterways into thick, green mush, choking fish and turning the water toxic to humans. Runoff from farm fields is the biggest culprit.

Governor John Kasich signed an executive order earlier this month to help regulate the runoff, but a panel appointed by the governor himself has sidelined the order, calling instead for further study.

Join us today for a conversation on agricultural and algal pollution in Ohio lakes as we broadcast live from the Ohio State Fair.


Aerial Associates Photography, Inc. by Zachary Haslic / NOAA

Gov. John Kasich found himself in some hot water after saying in a recent speech that he doesn’t believe Lake Erie is impaired, contradicting a declaration from his own Environmental Protection Agency in March. Now Kasich is clarifying those comments.

Lake Erie algea

Billions of dollars have been allocated to restoring the Great Lakes – money spent cleaning up pollution, preventing invasive species and educating the public.

A new regional initiative will analyze how effective some of those efforts – and dollars – have been so far.

A 600 mile long algae bloom on the Ohio River in 2015.
Jeff Reutter / Ohio Sea Grant via Flickr

Ethan Wells has lived along the Ohio River for almost all of his 32 years. One day last August near his home in Sistersville, an hour south of Wheeling, West Virginia, he noticed blue-green algae growing along the riverbank. And each time he looked, there was more of it.

Lake Erie
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Congresswomen from Ohio and Michigan are urging federal officials to designate western Lake Erie as an impaired waterway because of the harmful algae that is hurting the lake.

Commercially available water pitchers with filters can rid drinking water of toxins produced by algae blooms. The research done at Ohio State University’s Stone Lab on Lake Erie shows some are better at the task than others.

Late Summer Brings Renewed Worries About Algae

Sep 12, 2016
Sam Hendren

The tail end of summer can be a big problem for many of Ohio’s lakes. The combination of farmland runoff and high temperatures is ideal for algae growth, which has plagued Ohio's lakes in recent years.

NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory / Flickr

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says this year’s algal bloom in western Lake Erie should be less severe than last year.

Runoff and the Health of Ohio’s Water

May 6, 2016
NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory / Flickr

The Environmental Protection Agency is warning that toxic sediment is threatening Cleveland's water supply. The poisonous sediment, dredged from the Cuyahoga River, was dumped into Lake Erie before the regulations put in place by the 1972 Clean Water Act. This has once again raised concerns over the impact of agriculture runoffs from fertilizers and manure. 

Water faucet
Flickr: Luis

Some cities and towns are pushing back against new water testing rules proposed by the Ohio EPA. The state environmental agency wants local water supplies tested weekly for algae. Some water authorities have complained that the testing is too costly and too frequent.

Algae Bloom Adds To Buckeye Lake Woes

May 27, 2015
Buckeye Lake's Fairfield Beach at sunset
Ibagli / Wikimedia Commons

There’s more bad news at Buckeye Lake.  The Ohio Department of Natural Resources says a harmful algal bloom has caused a large growth of bacteria that are producing toxins above safe levels. 

Ohio Asks Neighboring States To Help Fight Lake Erie's Algae

May 9, 2015

Ohio's governor and environmental chief are asking leaders in some neighboring states to look at taking new steps at fighting the toxic algae blooms that have turned Lake Erie green in recent summers.

Nicholas A. Tonelli / Flickr

The spread of toxic algae in Lake Erie has impacted drinking water and become a top priority for Ohio legislators. Governor John Kasich recently signed legislation that is expected to help reduce some of the causes of the algae growth. We’ll discuss the health of Ohio’s lakes and waterways and find out what can be done to stop the spread of algae.

Ohio Legislature Weighs New 'Run-off' Regs For Farmers

Mar 9, 2015

The Ohio House is expected to vote on legislation this week to regulate fertilizer and manure run-off from fields. The run-off is partially blamed for a toxic algae bloom on Lake Erie that disrupted water supply for 400,000 Toledo residents last summer.

Ohio Farm Bureau Federation spokeswoman Yvonne Lesicko says the house bill will help reduce the threat of toxic algae blooms.

“I think it’s absolutely a critical piece in terms of a larger comprehensive way, and a larger comprehensive solution to deal with what happened in Lake Erie,” says Lesicko.

Drinking Water Safety

Aug 7, 2014

10 am

It's not usually news when Toledo's mayor drinks a glass of water, but on Monday, cameras swarmed as Michael Collins took a swig of previously-banned H20. Elevated toxin levels, likely from algae blooms, prompted a recent do-not-drink advisory, and this hour we'll look at what caused the problem, and we'll look at the health of Ohio's lakes.