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Algae bloom continues to hinder marine businesses

A toxic algal bloom in Lake Erie is causing problems for the marine industry in northwest Ohio and businesses in the area say rentals have slowed since the water crisis.

"Business slowly picked up as the summer went on," Erich Greulich, who works for Taylor Recreation, told the Toledo News. "It peaked around the Fourth of July weekend. We were making a lot of money, the beach was packed, we would have waiting lines for the jet skis. But after the water crisis, the algae was scaring everybody away and business has definitely went down."

The crisis has some of the area’s soybean and corn farmers on the defensive, according to a National Public Radio report.

After the water crisis the Ohio Farm Bureau, which represents 60,000 farmers across the state, went on the offensive. The bureau has long promoted proper fertilizer techniques. So have local county conservation programs such as the Ottawa Soil and Water Conservation District.

Most experts still believe that phosphorus is the main cause of algae on the lake and efforts to improve the water largely focus on farming. Earlier this summer, Ohio lawmakers passed a measure requiring most farmers to be certified before applying fertilizer. But it's unclear how much this will affect the lake.

"I went out last night; you could hear the wash of the waves, and what I saw was putty. Literally green putty," Sandy Bihn, of the non-profit Lake Erie Waterkeeper, told NPR. "The water wasn't even like water anymore. It is disgusting. It is putrid. It's awful."