Environmental groups say the report underscores the need for the United States and Canada to keep supporting Great Lakes restoration efforts. A budget proposal released by President Donald Trump zeroed out funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, but members of Congress from the Great Lakes area say they’ll fight to retain it.
The kind of toxic algae that forms each summer on Lake Erie and other lakes around Ohio feeds on phosphorus, a key element of livestock manure and sewage. Much of the phosphorus that gets into the lake comes from the Maumee River, which flows through eastern Indiana and western Ohio, depositing its waters into the western part of Lake Erie near Toledo.
Manure and sewage wash from soil and into the rivers and streams that feed the Maumee. More rains mean more runoff.
What’s more concerning is that plastic has been found to act like a sort of sponge, concentrating toxic chemicals that are diluted in oceans and lakes. Such toxins include heavy metals and chemicals that have long been banned, such as DDT or PCBs, that can have severe environmental effects and are known to cause cancer and birth defects.