Toxic algae blooms threaten Lake Erie drinking water—it will be a big job to fix, but recent progress can lead to success.
Thirty-five million people in Canada and the U.S. rely on Lake Erie as their primary source of drinking water. In 2014, 500,000 of them could not drink that water, or even bathe with it, all because of toxic algal blooms.
Many people don’t realize how precarious the situation is when it comes to keeping this water safe to use. But when we have a drinking water crisis, it serves as a wake-up call, starting a flurry of activity.
With all of this sudden activity, there is a risk that the various players dive in without knowing what everyone else is doing. Freshwater Future plays a crucial role in coordinating among groups working in the region on this issue. We’re making sure that we share information, avoid duplication, and leverage the advancements made in one community to secure similar wins in every community.
Working together we are making progress. Here are some recent successes on reducing toxic algae:
• In June, the Governors of Michigan and Ohio, along with the Premier of Ontario signed
a document promising to reduce nutrient pollution—the main cause of Lake Erie’s algae
blooms—by 40% by 2025.
• Ontario recently adopted the Great Lakes Protection Act, which was supported by the
conservation movement in the US and Canada. It could help reduce water pollution and
improve opportunities for community engagement.
Thanks to your donations, Freshwater Future will keep working on:
• Ensuring governments develop effective and timely plans for addressing algal blooms,
and that those plans are robust.
• Building momentum for action by working to educate and engage residents on
• Continue to find new partners to work with, such as farmers, charter boat
captains, commercial fisherman, tourism associations, and more.