U.S.-Canada board: The Great Lakes have a manure problem
A sign on an empty stretch of beach warns against coming into contact with the water at Maumee Bay State Park near Toledo, Ohio, in August 2019: “Algal toxins at UNSAFE levels have been detected.” (Jamie Smith Hopkins / Center for Public Integrity)
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An advisory panel for a U.S.-Canada commission is calling for government agencies in the Great Lakes region to overhaul how they manage farm animal manure, recommendations intended to protect people from toxins fouling area water.
The report by the International Joint Commission’s Great Lakes Water Quality Board was completed in September but made public Jan. 24, the day after an investigation by the Center for Public Integrity, Grist and The World into Lake Erie’s manure problem. The board’s report found that manure running off farm fields “contributes significantly” to the overloading of nutrients such as phosphorus that fuel toxic algae blooms in the region, Lake Erie included.