Over a dozen buoys, near daily water samples and state of the art satellites are all being used to monitor Lake Erie this summer. The question answered today: how big of a bloom are lead scientists expecting.
"We have a scale of 1-10 and this year we expect a bloom of a 6. Last year was an 8. So we expect a noticeably smaller bloom." said Dr. Rick Stumpf, NOAA Oceanographer.
Rick Stumpf is in charge of using all that modern equipment and research to model algae forecasts.
While the bloom is expected to be large, predicting exactly how toxic it will be has proven much tougher.
Rick Continued, "There is a real problem is we don't know why the toxin is produced. Because it's not intentionally toxic, that's what we've found. It happens to be toxin to mammals, humans, dogs."
Those sophisticated models would be impossible without the intense data gathering by the National Center for Water Quality Research.
"I have not seen data quite like this anywhere else. This amount, this frequency, this long-term data collection. It's been analyzed in the same way for the whole 40 years, we're actually almost up to 50 years of data collection for the lab as a whole." says Dr. Laura Johnson, National Center for Water Quality Research.
Bloom sizes are dictated by runoff, while slow progress is being made. Not enough has been done yet to make an impact this summer.
Laura said, "For the amount of flow that we've had the loading is exactly where we would expect it to be. Which means not a whole lot of progress has been made so far."