Budget Cut Threat: Polluted Runoff

Here’s a closer look at how federal investments are tackling serious threats in communities and why these important investments need to continue.

A toxic algal bloom near Catabawa Island in Lake Erie closes the beach to swimmers. Photo: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Threat: Polluted runoff causes toxic algal outbreaks like the 2014 harmful algal bloom in western Lake Erie that poisoned drinking water for more than 400,000 people.

What the federal government is doing: The federal government is investing money to study the polluted runoff that causes toxic algal outbreaks and is paying farmers to take action to protect soil and water quality, as well as reduce polluted runoff from flowing off of farm fields into streams and rivers—and the Great Lakes themselves. Click here to see the programs that work together to prevent and control polluted runoff in the Great Lakes.

Ongoing Need: Harmful algal blooms are an annual occurrence in the Great Lakes region. Developing and implementing best practices to prevent or filter runoff before it enters streams and rivers is key to reducing the impact of toxic algal outbreaks which impacts our drinking water, closes beaches, and harms businesses like Charter Boats.

Impact of Budget Cuts: Efforts end to target and stop polluted runoff. In some areas, drinking water supplies are threatened. This can result in the loss of tourism dollars from birding, hiking, and fishing that currently contribute billions each year to our economy, but all are reliant on a strong and healthy ecosystem.