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There is a serious problem occurring in the western basin of Lake Erie, affecting the Toledo, Ohio, area and nearly half a million people.

The problem seems so far removed from Evanston that one might wonder why I would bring it up. Well, this problem could be ours if we are not aware of the cause and how to prevent it.

The problem on Lake Erie first appeared three years ago, when a huge area of green algae bloom formed on the lake, making the area drinking water unusable for weeks.

The problem was caused by excessive runoff from agricultural fertilizers, which fed the algae bloom.

The Governors of Ohio and Michigan and the Premier of Ontario pledged to do what was necessary to prevent this from happening again.

Roll the calendar three years forward, and we again have an algae bloom problem on Lake Erie’s western basin. People are asking why this happened, when the cause is known and the problem is preventable.

We have the potential for a similar problem here in Evanston, if we are not careful. Although we do not have the agricultural fields with their runoffs going into Lake Michigan, we do have homes all along the Lake Michigan watershed. Lawn and garden fertilizers are no different from their agricultural counterparts in their ability to feed the algae bloom.

We need to be aware of what goes on our lawns and into our gardens – especially those of us whose communities border Lake Michigan.

As we fertilize our lawns for fall and our lawns and gardens during the spring and summer, we need to think about the products we are using and remember that the runoff from all of them will head back into our lake and will affect the ecological balance of the lake that supplies our drinking water.

Fishing continues to be good on all area lakes; fish are active and feeding. The fall is a great time for a family fishing trip. With a picnic basket, small tackle box, a couple of fishing rods, and a camera, the family can head out to areas like Starved Rock, the Mississippi Palisades, or Whitewater, Wis. There is time to take in the fall colors and do a little hiking – and, of course, some fishing.

Until next time…keep a tight line.