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Ohio State Researchers Win Federal Grant To Study Algae Problems

Lake Erie has seen toxic algae blooms in recent years. Scientists say they're largely fueled by the runoff of phosphorus-rich fertilizer into the lake's watershed.

Some Ohio State University researchers are starting a three-year study looking for keys to predicting, mitigating, controlling, or even preventing harmful algal blooms in rivers and streams all over the country. 

The Ohio State team, led by assistant professor Mazeika Sullivan of the School of Environmental and Natural Resources,  got the grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. They’re to analyze and categorize algae activity throughout the upper Ohio River basin.

Sullivan says the goal is to create a standardized system for evaluating algae issues in any watershed.

“Rivers are very dynamic and can respond in very different ways than lakes, so the focus of this research is really thinking about inland systems,” Sullivan says. “Our focus is on watershed, so from smaller streams all the way up to the Ohio River, including reservoirs that are in the system.”

The federal grant is for $681,000. In announcing it, EPA Director Scott Pruitt called the project "innovative science."