Reducing Harmful Algal Blooms in Lake Erie: Legal Tools and Best Practices
Harmful algal blooms (HABs), excessive growths of toxin-producing algae that form in Lake Erie during the summer, adversely impact aquatic life and human health as well as recreation, tourism, fishing, and property values. Triggered primarily by excess phosphorus, HABs in Lake Erie have reached crisis proportions in recent years.
This webpage provides information for addressing the HABs problem in Lake Erie.
Researchers from the University of Toledo College of Law in April 2012 issued a white paper, Legal Tools for Reducing Harmful Algal Blooms in Lake Erie, which contributes to the battle against HABs in Lake Erie in two ways. First, by describing the complex web of existing federal and state laws applicable to point and nonpoint sources in Ohio, the paper highlights the legal tools currently available for controlling key sources of phosphorus. Second, it makes recommendations for using these existing tools and for changing the law to help combat the formation of HABs in Lake Erie.
See also Kenneth Kilbert, Tiffany Tisler & M. Zack Hohl, Legal Tools for Reducing Harmful Algal Blooms in Lake Erie, 44 U. Tol. L. Rev. 69 (2012), available at http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2185017.
In a pair of March 2012 public workshops in Toledo and Columbus, experts from science, government and law addressed best practices and legal tools for reducing phosphorus entering Lake Erie and its tributaries from key sources in Ohio.
PANEL 1: Understanding the HABs Problem
Introduction to harmful algal blooms and the problems they pose in Lake Erie; phosphorus is a key driver in the formation of HABs; important Ohio sources of phosphorus to Lake Erie and its tributaries.
Ohio Lake Erie Commission
PANEL 2: Best Practices for Reducing HABs in Lake Erie
Methods to minimize phosphorus loading to Lake Erie and its tributaries from key Ohio sources; particular focus on best practices for agricultural activities and urban/suburban stormwater runoff.
PANEL 3: Legal Tools for Reducing HABs in Lake Erie
Existing federal and state legal controls in Ohio for key point source and nonpoint sources of phosphorus to Lake Erie and its tributaries; recommendations for the future.
More Information about HABs and Lake Erie
Ohio Lake Erie Phosphorus Task Force Final Report (April 2010)
The white paper, workshops and this webpage are all parts of a multi-disciplinary legal research and public outreach project partially funded by a grant from the National Sea Grant Law Center.