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NCCEH Student Project Award 2015 - C Friesen

Agricultural runoff, cyanobacterial blooms in Lake Erie and public health: A knowledge synthesis

C Friesen
University of Guelph: Master of Science in Epidemiology

  • Freshwater lakes around the world are an important water source for many people.
  • The Great Lakes are increasingly becoming nutrient-rich due primarily to agricultural runoff despite previous efforts to reduce nutrient loading from other sources.
  • Cyanobacterial (also known as blue-green algae) blooms flourish in eutrophic lakes like Lake Erie and produce harmful toxins that pose a risk to human health.
  • Current testing and diagnostic methods, water treatment systems, and regulations intended to limit nutrient runoff can be inadequate in reducing cyanobacterial blooms and are often unaffordable by small municipalities.
  • The majority of farmers seem willing to adopt additional best management practices and should thus be educated and supported in their efforts to reduce nutrient runoff.