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Threats to Lake Erie boating - don't go in the water?

Lake Erie has 127,729 billion gallons of fresh water!
Lake Erie has 127,729 billion gallons of fresh water!
Sandy Woodthorpe

Last Sunday I took the boat out about five miles from shore and assembled my hull cleaning stuff. When I got into the water, I noticed a black ribbon-like form, about 18" long, sticking to the bottom of the boat, near the rudder. I knew what it was - a sea lamprey.  I also knew it wasn't dangerous, but when I flicked it with my swim fin and it shot through the water like a torpedo, I let out a squeak that must have been heard for miles across the calm water. Fortunately, his trajectory was in the opposite direction of my swim fin.

Sea lampreys entered Lake Erie through the Welland Canal in the 1920s. Since the 1950s, these invaders have been brought under control with a targeted chemical pesticide.  Anyway, they don't attack and, as I found, seem more scared of us than we are of them.

Blue-green algae, as you may have heard lately, IS a potential hazard.  Incidences of illness in humans and pets resulting from exposures in lakes and ponds AND two western Lake Erie locations (Maumee Bay State Park and East Bay) prompted officials to post warnings.  Depending on your threshold for danger, you may find that reason enough to consider staying OUT of the water around Northeast Ohio the rest of the warm season. 

Keep updated on this hazard by bookmarking the following links and checking them regularly:

Ohio Department of Natural Resources Algae Advisory 

Ohio Department of Health

Centers for Disease Control Cyanobacteria report

Happy and Safe Boating!



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