OREGON, Ohio — Thursday was a beautiful day to be on Lake Erie. Whether you were wind surfing, swimming or just sitting on the sand, several said it was perfect.
"I like to swim like a mermaid," said Makenna a young girl at Maumee Bay.
"Getting thrown in the water," another boy said.
"Burying myself in the sand," added Nina.
While they were enjoying the lake, NOAA released their official harmful algal bloom forecast showing it would be the large this year. NOAA rated the severity of this season's bloom at 7.5 out of 10.
RELATED: NOAA forecasts large Lake Erie algal bloom
"It's always painful to hear, especially when you live on the lake and you want to use the lake and enjoy it," Sandy Bihn said.
Bihn is the executive director of Lake Erie Waterkeeper Inc. She said she wasn't surprised by the bloom forecast, but it did leave her confused as to what it means. Bihn expected to see an impact by the lack of farming that happened this year, but that wasn't the case.
"Since the farmers couldn't plant, it would have been nice if the lake got a breather,” she said. “We’d kind of know that that was what we were dealing with, but we're not getting that past this year because there is little to no commercial fertilizer and little to no planting. So, I question what we're doing and why we're doing it. "
While researchers said they still have questions about what the report means, some Toledoans on the lake Thursday said they aren't too concerned about the prediction.
"There's a concern there sometimes,” Toledo resident Randy Popoff said. “But it looks like they have it under control right now so, it's pretty good out here."
"All Toledoans know that we need to be aware of it,” Gloria Edson said. “It's something that we see, but we've been swimming today, and we've been here quite a bit and we haven't had no problems or really no concerns."
The water looks clear right now, but researchers predict the bloom will appear later this month and persist through early fall.
Sandy Bihn said she believes the results of this year’s forecast prove there are more issues at hand we must address, like the number of animals and manure in our area.
"I think we just have to look at the facts," she said. “And when you see massive numbers of growth in the numbers of animals, the amount of manure and the amount of phosphorus being put in the Maumee watershed, you can't keep adding to the watershed and then expect better results. "
Bihn said she plans to take her research to government officials in hopes of making our lake healthier in the future.