Lake Erie algae topic of expert panel, public forum Nov. 12 in Leamington


 Contact: Hugh McDiarmid, IJC:



An expert panel discussion and public comment forum on Lake Erie algal blooms will take place Wednesday, November 12, in Leamington, Ontario.

The sessions are part of the International Joint Commission’s (IJC) efforts to further understanding and discussion of Lake Erie algae issues and of the IJC’s Lake Erie Ecosystem Priority report, A Balanced Diet for Lake Erie: Reducing Phosphorus Loadings and Harmful Algal Blooms which was released in February 2014. 

Leamington is one of the communities visited by the IJC during its draft consultations on the report in 2013. The IJC is returning to provide updates and hear the views of residents on progress toward addressing harmful algal blooms on the lake.

The panel discussion will take place from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Leamington Municipal Complex, 111 Erie Street North. Public suggestions and questions will be accepted during a 7 to 9 p .m. public comment session. The IJC will consider the comments in the preparation of a one-year update to its 2014 report, and in formulating advice to the U.S. and Canadian governments on addressing the algae issue.

IJC Acting Canadian Co-chair Gordon Walker will moderate the panel discussion. U.S. Co-chair Lana Pollack will be in attendance.

Panelists include:

Rick Masse

Mayor of Pelee Island

William Taylor, Ph.D.

Biology professor, University of Waterloo

Dr. David Coates

Family physician with a background in water quality issues

Larry Verbeke

Farmer, director with the Essex County Federation of Agriculture, Leamington municipal councillor


The sessions are especially timely, given the dangerous algal blooms that plagued Lake Erie during the summer of 2014, said Walker, who grew up on the shores of the lake. Algae-borne toxins forced "Do Not Drink" warnings for residents of both Pelee Island and Toledo’s municipal water system at different times during the summer.

"Lake Erie is clearly in trouble," said Walker. "We need an active and informed citizenry as well as commitment from all levels of government and society to fix the problems. Sharing the science with the public and listening to people who depend on the lake for livelihoods and quality of life is essential to this process."

A similar panel discussion and public comment session will take place Nov. 13 at Maumee Bay State Park Lodge and Conference Center, 1750 State Park Road #2 Oregon, OH. A panel discussion from 3 to 5 p.m. will be followed by a public comment session from 7 to 9 p.m.

Panelists at the Ohio forum include Thomas Bridgeman, Ph.D. professor at the University of Toledo; Dave Spangler, Lake Erie charter boat captain; Seth Foldy, Ph.D. associate professor of Family and Community Medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin and Doug Busdeker, senior manager at The Andersons, Inc.