Algal bloom coordinator could help ensure changes to clean Lake Erie

Algal bloom coordinator could help ensure changes to clean Lake Erie

(WTOL) - New details about the latest attempt to clean up Lake Erie involve assigning someone specific to make sure the algae threat is a top priority.

The job title is "HAB coordinator." Whoever wants it, has to be well-versed in Harmful Algal Blooms and the best ways to stop them from poisoning our drinking water.

As part of the Water Resources Development Act passed by the U.S. Senate on Thursday, a HAB coordinator would be appointed to bring together efforts by federal, state, and local agencies to reduce algae blooms.

Lake Erie Waterkeeper Sandy Bihn, who lives right on Maumee Bay, said it's a great idea because the federal government has not stepped up enough to manage Lake Erie's health.

"And it kind of gives a mechanism to understand where we're at and where we're going. I would hope this person would have that skill set as well as knowledge of water law and water regulations and water practices," said Bihn.

Sen. Sherrod Brown has pushed for funding for the algal bloom coordinator and said, "Under this bill we will have more focus on long term strategies to provide the kind of reliable, efficient, affordable, and plentiful water and the sewer component that comes with that."

The House still has to approve the bill and we haven't heard additional specifics. But Bihn has learned it will be a federal position, under the U.S. EPA.

"The Great Lakes are huge. The HAB coordinator I think, should be housed in Lake Erie just because we have the greatest challenge right now and we can kind of set the path hopefully that the other lakes won't incur what we have," said Bihn.

He says the Chesapeake Bay cleanup is a good example of how an algal bloom coordinator can help. She said even the website they designed gives information we just don't see about Lake Erie.
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