Letters to the Editor Week of 7/13/20

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Commissioners sound off on algal blooms

To the editor: It is July in Lucas County, meaning the harmful algal bloom season is right around the corner. In past years, we have seen the pattern of harmful algae making its way upstream from Lake Erie into the Maumee River, and especially in the downtown Toledo area.
But this year, an unusual change is taking place and it is something that we are concerned about. The combination of lower than normal water flow due to below average rainfall and unseasonably warm temperatures has caused a toxic algae bloom from Middlegrounds Metropark to Cullen Park in the Maumee River. This bloom is so bad that the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department is warning people to stay out of the water in that area.
With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, residents are now more than ever enjoying the abundant recreational amenities that the Maumee River has to offer, including canoeing, kayaking, fishing, and boating. The threat of harmful algal blooms in the river from downtown to Point Place is disturbing. This is a time when we should not be warning people to stay out of our river.
The toxic algal bloom in the Maumee River underscores the urgency that is desperately needed to take aggressive, data driven action on phosphorous reduction. The Board of Lucas County Commissioners commends the governor’s action last year to create the H2Ohio Fund. However, the state must take it a step further. We strongly encourage the state to utilize the Nutrient Source Inventory (NSI) tool that we created and developed as a resource for farmers, and that they take advantage of the H2Ohio funds in locations that nutrient run-off is the highest.
The NSI tool specifically identifies those areas. The commissioners also want to reemphasize the importance of common sense regulation and the role it should play in targeting nutrient reduction goals, such as the Total Maximum Daily Load or TMDL the state will be developing for the Western Lake Erie Basin.
Tina Skeldon Wozniak, president
Pete Gerken
Gary Byers


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