Too few farmers are curbing pollution in Lake Erie. Should they be forced?

Read the full story at Great Lakes Now.

Ohio, Michigan and Ontario have given themselves until 2025 to reduce phosphorus into Lake Erie by 40% compared to 2008 levels — a deadline they collectively are not on track to achieve despite throwing billions of dollars at the problem. By one estimate, millions of acres-worth of farmland in the vast western basin, which includes a large swath of Ohio and smaller portions of Indiana, Michigan and Ontario, would have to follow Williams’ example to hit the target. 

The cost of failure is staggering: Communities surrounding Lake Erie lose tens of millions of dollars annually to the bloom, which depresses property values, repels tourists and forces lakeshore communities to spend more on drinking water treatment. 

And then there’s the impact toxic algae has on human health and quality of life, which many Toledo residents felt acutely as a 2014 bloom settled over the city’s water intake pipe and left residents without drinking water for three days.

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