Report says mussels, nutrients damage Great Lakes - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Report says mussels, nutrients damage Great Lakes


TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) -- A report says a one-two punch of excessive nutrients and foreign mussels is causing a sharp drop-off in Great Lakes fish populations and the worst toxic algae blooms in decades.

The National Wildlife Federation study released Tuesday says quagga mussels are consuming plankton needed by small fish that are prey for bigger species. That's causing the entire food web to unravel in parts of the lakes. In Lake Huron, the biomass or collective weight of fish populations is down 95 percent in the past 15 years.

Meanwhile, farm runoff is causing a return of huge near-shore algae blooms that plagued Lake Erie decades ago. Deeper waters farther offshore have the opposite problem. There, fish are starving from lack of nutrients.

The report calls for reducing nutrient pollution and species invasions.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

APNP-10-04-11 1135CDT

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