This summer’s record breaking temperatures have spurred online boat sales as families head for the water to beat the heat. Boat traffic on the Great Lakes and inland lakes throughout the Midwest has been heavy this summer as people flock to the water. While hot weather makes a day on the water that much more enjoyable, it’s creating a serious problem that is closing many inland lakes to boat owners.
The summer heat wave has warmed water temperatures, allowing toxic algae to thrive and spread on inland lakes throughout the Midwest. Daytime temperatures in the 90s coupled with higher than normal overnight temperatures in the 70s have allowed temperature-sensitive algae to bloom out of control. Normally, colder nighttime temperatures kill off enough algae to balance daytime growth, but this year is different. One water quality expert called it “algae on steroids.”
As algae blooms, it depletes oxygen levels in inland lakes, threatening fish and other water life. Farm runoff that carries fertilizer chemicals and manure to streams and into lakes can cause toxic algae to develop. Toxic algae poses a serious threat to humans and pets. Several dogs and one man died in western Ohio after coming in contact with toxic algae at Grand Lake St. Marys. Toxic algae blooms have already closed 10 lakes in Ohio and 2 in Wisconsin with more lakes at risk. Boaters are warned to obey posted signs and avoid algae-smothered lakes.
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