What is this stuff?
A harmful algal bloom (HAB) is the explosive growth of cyanobacteria (also known as blue-green algae) in a body of water such as Lake Erie.
Unlike green algae, which are basically aquatic plants, cyanobacteria have the ability to produce toxins that can cause illness or death in humans and pets who come in contact with contaminated water.
In Lake Erie, harmful algal blooms occur most often in the shallow, warm parts of the lake. Because western Lake Erie fits that description so well, blooms begin to develop there in July, usually peak in mid-August to early September, and may last through mid-October, when the water gets cold again.
One of the easiest ways to know if there’s a bloom and where it’s located is to sign up for NOAA’s Lake Erie HAB Bulletin. It’s an easy way to make sure you’ll be able to enjoy the water wherever you’re visiting Lake Erie.