The Erie Situation – and beyond

Join six PBS stations to watch this important documentary.

Whether you go out on a boat, to a beach or get your drinking water from Lake Erie, you know harmful algal blooms are a problem.

But they’re not limited to this Great Lake. The blooms are a threat to all five lakes, the connectors like the Detroit River and Lake St. Clair and other parts of the watershed.

A new documentary explores the issue and helps residents of the region understand what’s a stake and what possible solutions could be. Produced by David J. Ruck and Plastic Oceans, the film has aired at film festivals around the region this year. Ruck, who lives in Muskegon, Mich., is a regular contributor to Great Lakes Now.

In partnership, PBS stations in six cities and three states that border Lake Erie — and one along Lake Superior — are simultaneously broadcasting the film and sharing more resources with residents about this important environmental and economic issue.

Tune in at 9 p.m. ET, Monday, Sept. 12 on:

Buffalo Public Media in New York

Detroit Public Television in southeast Michigan

Ideastream Public Media in Cleveland, Ohio

WGTE-TV in Toledo, Ohio

WNMU-TV in Marquette, Michigan

WQLN-TV in Erie, Pennsylvania

Read the latest on harmful algal blooms:

Dams may slow harmful algal blooms in urban lakes, expert says
- by Great Lakes Echo

Like clockwork, Michigan’s Ford Lake and its downstream neighbor, Belleville Lake, turn bright green every summer due to harmful algal blooms.

From the Ice Age to Now: A Lake Erie timeline

The ups and downs of the southernmost Great Lake.

Can Michigan reduce phosphorus pollution getting into Lake Erie by 40 percent?
- by Michigan Public

Michigan won’t reach the phosphorus reduction goal by 2025 as planned. It’s uncertain when it might attain that goal to help reduce cyanobacterial blooms in Lake Erie.

Michigan farm czar: Our fight against Lake Erie pollution isn’t working
- by Bridge Michigan

Ahead of a gathering to assess the health of Lake Erie, Michigan acknowledges it won’t meet a 2025 deadline to cut phosphorus runoff into the lake by 40 percent.

WATCH: Ontario’s greenhouse sector with The Narwhal
- by Great Lakes Now

The Catch took a look at why experts are saying water from greenhouses in southern Ontario could be harming Lake Erie. Journalist and farmer Matt McIntosh recently reported on the issue for The Narwhal.

Lake Erie is full of algae again. Southwestern Ontario’s exploding greenhouse sector won’t help
- by The Narwhal

Experts say nutrient-rich water from greenhouse farms could be harming Lake Erie, but Ontario’s Environment Ministry has issued very few fines for potential algae-causing infractions.

US EPA okays Ohio plan to reduce toxic cyanobacterial blooms; Environmentalists say it won’t work
- by Michigan Public

Environmentalists say the Ohio plan will not work because it doesn’t hold agriculture responsible for the runoff from fields using manure from factory farms as fertilizer.

Toxins from cyanobacterial blooms can be airborne, but the threat to public health is unclear
- by Michigan Public

Researchers are studying how much of cyanobacterial toxins become airborne. They say breathing in the toxins is much worse than ingesting them.

Scientists are learning just how complicated it will be to reduce toxic blooms in Lake Erie
- by Michigan Public

Two decades of study reveals a complex combination of factors causing large cyanobacterial blooms and their toxicity. Government incentives to reduce nutrient pollution from farms have not been enough to solve the problem so far.

“It’s a good thing”: Fishflies in Great Lakes region signify healthy water
- by Jada Vasser, Great Lakes Now

Even though fishflies may not be the prettiest insects, they represent good. A large number of fishflies near the Great Lakes area means the water is healthy.

What are wetlands for, anyway?

Here’s what to know about how the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Sackett v EPA changing wetland protection impacts the Great Lakes region.

Harmful algal blooms appearing on Lake Erie earlier than usual
- by Michigan Public

NOAA satellite images and a research vessel sampling Lake Erie water both found evidence of harmful algal blooms on July 5, a much earlier date than typical.