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 page 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.
"Algae: A Blooming Problem in the Great Lakes and Beyond"
The 13th Annual Great Lakes Water Conferece
Friday, November 8, 2013
Algae, fueled by excess nutrients, are a blooming crisis in the Great Lakes and beyond, causing economic and environmental harm and threatening public health. Legal and scientific experts from across the nation and Canada tackled the algae problem at the 13th annual Great Lakes Water Conference on Friday, November 8, 2013 at the University of Toledo College of Law.
Keynote speaker Chris Korleski, Director of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Great Lakes National Program Office, kicked off the one-day conference. Panels focusing on Algae in the Great Lakes and Algae Across the Nation followed, and an afternoon panel on the Compact, the Carp, and the Court rounded out the sessions. The conference was sponsored by the University of Toledo College of Law and its affiliated Legal Institute of the Great Lakes.
Selected slide presentations from the 2013 Conference:
More Information about HABs and Lake Erie
Ohio Lake Erie Phosphorus Task Force Final Report (April 2010)
The white paper, workshops, and this page 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.