Canada and the U.S. should crack down on sources of phosphorus runoff blamed for a rash of harmful algae blooms on Lake Erie, an advisory agency said Thursday.
The International Joint Commission said in a draft report that urgent steps are needed to curb runaway algae — which produce harmful toxins and contribute to oxygen-deprived “dead zones” where fish cannot survive.
The issue prompted both nations to reach their first agreement to improve Great Lakes water quality more than 40 years ago, when some considered Erie ecologically dead.
Tougher standards for municipal and industrial waste treatment produced improvements by reducing the flow into the lake of phosphorus on which algae feeds.
The report’s Canadian co-author, Glenn Benoy, said algae blooms had almost disappeared but now there is a recurrence.
“Some of the worst blooms we’ve seen in the lake happened in…
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