Proposed legislation aims to make water quality data available to public

Ohio Congressman Bob Latta has co-sponsored legislation aimed at examining the causes of algal blooms in the Great Lakes and evaluating mitigation efforts.

The bill, the Great Lakes & Fresh Water Algal Blooms Information Act, authorizes the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to compile research and information on algal blooms in the Great Lakes, their tributaries, and surface fresh waters. It also requires that findings be reported to Congress and be made available to the public.

“The health of our Great Lakes is critical to our region and important to the entire country,” Latta said. “Being able to access pertinent data will help us develop and implement the most effective methods to ensure healthy water in our Great Lakes, their tributaries and surface fresh waters.”

The Great Lakes region contains 84 percent of North America’s fresh surface water, providing 40 million Americans with drinking water, and generating tens of billions of dollars in fishing and tourism revenue, according to a news release from Latta’s office.

Ohio Farm Bureau is continuing to work proactively to ensure the state has both clean water and productive farming. Over the past 2½ years, OFBF has invested more than $2 million in its comprehensive Water Quality Action Plan. Farm Bureau staff and county volunteers have worked to implement water qualit y programs in communities throughout Ohio with the help of dozens of partnering organizations.