Lake Erie algae topic of expert panel, public forum Nov. 13 at Maumee Bay


Contact: Hugh McDiarmid, IJC:



An expert panel discussion and public comment forum on Lake Erie algal blooms will take place Thursday, November 13 at Maumee Bay State Park near Toledo, OH.

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. 

Greater Toledo 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 Maumee Bay State Park Conference Center, 1750 State Park Road #2, Oregon, OH. Public suggestions and questions will be accepted during a 7 to 9 p .m. 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 U.S. Co-chair Lana Pollack will moderate the panel discussion. Canadian Acting Co-chair Gordon Walker will be in attendance.

Panelists include:

Dave Spangler

Lake Erie charter boat captain

Doug Busdeker

Senior Manager at The Andersons, Inc.

Thomas Bridgeman, Ph.D.

Professor and researcher, University of Toledo

Seth Foldy, Ph.D.

Associate professor of Family & Community Medicine, Medical College of Wisconsin


The sessions are especially timely, given the dangerous algal blooms that plagued Lake Erie during the summer of 2014, said Pollack. 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 Pollack. "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. 12 at the Leamington, ON municipal government complex, 111 Erie Street North. 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 Leamington forum include Rick Masse, mayor of Pelee Island; William Taylor, Ph.D., biology professor at the University of Waterloo; Larry Verbeke, farmer, director with the Essex County Federation of Agriculture; and Dr. David Coates, a family physician with a background in water quality issues.