Farmers may be partially blamed for Lake Erie algae blooms

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Algae blooms in Lake Erie are bigger than ever this summer, generating accusations that farmers are partly to blame.

Fertilizer Canada issued a news release response, saying it “is aware of and closely monitoring the threat of a harmful algal bloom (HAB) in the western Lake Erie basin, expected to occur in the coming weeks and months.

“We continue to work with Ontario crop and conservation partners to increase adoption of 4R Nutrient Stewardship ensuring the Great Lakes remain drinkable, swimmable and fishable,” the institute said

“The Essex Region Conservation Authority is committed to working with our partners to reduce phosphorus in our local watercourses by encouraging the use of agricultural best management practices, like 4R Nutrient Stewardship and cover crops,” said Dr. Katie Stammler, Water Quality Scientist at ERCA.

“We continue to monitor our local watercourses so that we can track our efforts towards the goal of a 40 per cent reduction of phosphorus, and we follow the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) bulletins closely so we can have advance warning of when the algal bloom may make its way to our shores.”

Tom Bruulsema, chief scientist with the International Plant Nutrition Institute of Canada, said, “building upon the adoption of conservation tillage to reduce soil erosion and nutrient loss, the 4R Nutrient Stewardship program aims to reduce these losses even further.”

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