Phosphorus impacts across Lake Erie
(2016 Progress Report of the Parties).
Harmful algal blooms (HABs) are not the only concern associated with elevated phosphorus levels in Lake Erie. The western basin, which is relatively shallow and warm, is plagued with HABs, but the central and eastern basins do not experience these blooms. The central basin, however, is subject to hypoxic conditions (i.e., low oxygen), which can result in “dead zones” that are dangerous for aquatic ecosystems. Phosphorus inputs in the eastern basin cause Cladophora algal blooms. Though this type of algae does not produce toxins like the HABs in the western basin, it is a nuisance to those wishing to enjoy the lake.