Buoy launched to study Lake Erie algal blooms

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OREGON, Ohio (WTVG) - It was the perfect morning for a cruise out on the lake.

UT professor and algae expert Thomas Bridgeman and his crew set sail this morning on an important voyage.

Today, they launched a buoy that will track this year’s algal blooms.

Anyone can access this solar-powered vessel online, as it records the progression of algae in real time.

Inside, there’s a long blue bulk of sensors called a water quality sonde.

The sonde will measure the water’s quality and collect data on the growth of the blue-green algae that causes toxins in the water.

"The location's about 7 miles from the water intake, so we can see the bloom forming in Maumee Bay before it gets to the intake, and that's really valuable to have that extra notice,” says Bridgeman.

Additional funding for buoys like these came in the wake of the Toledo water crisis back in 2014. A toxic algal bloom led to warnings for 400,000 people not to drink, cook with, or even touch the tap water.

This buoy will be part of an early warning network to keep tabs on the algal bloom and prevent another water emergency.

You can check out the data collected by the buoy by clicking this link and selecting Little Cedar Point