A group of local and national officials took a boat ride to the algal bloom near the City of Toledo’s water intake facility in Western Lake Erie.
“Over the next day you’re going to hear a lot about technical solutions. You are going to hear about how we can do a little bit more treatment and how we can help address the immediate crisis,” O’Mara said. “The reason I wanted to get folks out on the water today is there’s a systemic challenge that we face here in the Great Lakes that’s actually much bigger than this one crisis. And unfortunately this crisis could just be the tip of the iceberg unless we begin to address it.”National Wildlife Federation (NWF) CEO Collin O’Mara, NWF Manager of Regional Outreach Frank Szollosi, NWF Board of Directors member Bruce Wallace, Toledo City Councilman Larry Sykes, Lake Erie Waterkeeper Executive Director Sandy Bihn, Ohio 46th District Rep. Mike Sheehy, a representative from Rep. Marcy Kaptur’s office and local media members were among those on board.
It’s more than just run-off from industry and farmers’ fields, but run-off from fertilizer individual people use on their lawns, the overuse of manure and more, as well as affected by natural causes. The consequences affect not only residents but wildlife, fisheries, businesses such as charter boats, tourism and more.
“If we don’t all pull together to address these nutrient challenges we’re going to continue to see these kinds of events occur over and over again,” O’Mara said. “We need to address the short term crisis but we need to think long-term.”
“What you do here in response to this crisis could become a bit of national model,” he said.”This is my worst nightmare, not being able to drink the water,” Bihn added. “But maybe its a opportunity to find the solutions we need.”