Alert system set up for algae blooms

[29th, Apr 2014] An alert system is being set up to notify people when a harmful algae bloom is spotted in Lake Erie or Presque Isle Bay. Two of these blooms, known as HABs, were found in the bay in early August. One bloom was discovered near Perry’s Landing and the other was spotted near the head of the bay along the eastern edge of Presque Isle State Park…

“A task force was created to develop a protocol that spells out who to contact when someone sees a harmful algae bloom, and who takes action,” said Karen Tobin, director of environmental health for the Erie County Department of Health. Tobin spoke about the alert system Monday during a meeting of the Erie County Board of Health.

Though HABs have been found in the western waters of Lake Erie for years, 2013 was the first time they were discovered near Erie. Most blooms aren’t harmful to humans, but some produce a toxin that sickens humans and animals.

“If we find one, we will send out a biologist and post alerts designed to keep people and animals out of the water,” Tobin said. Algae blooms tend to happen in warmer lake water and are usually found in mid- to late summer, Tobin said. Anyone who finds a bloom should call the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection at (814) 332-6839.

David Bruce, Erie Times-News

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