December 7, 2023
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Drought map claims Cuyahoga River watershed
HABs are back in Lake Erie

Friday, November 17, 2023 - last updated 11:18 am EST

Streamflow Situation from USGS Waterwatch based on real time flow monitors across Ohio
The current streamflow status 7-day running average continues to roll in the direction of drought. Streamflow monitors in all the watersheds of Ohio State continue to record much below normal flow volumes for this day of the year.

By Friday morning, very little of east Ohio state area escapes the drought map. One small area still evading a drought rating Friday is the Mahoning and Shenango River watersheds at the top of the divide, the beginning of the Upper Ohio River basin. Downstream, the Shade and Raccoon-Symmes watersheds have retained a moderate drought rating overnight. continuing along the Ohio River west, the below normal rating hangs on all the way to the west state line.

Of all east Ohio, the Muskingum River basin south of the state divide, only Guernsey County in the Wills Creek watershed remains normal Friday. The rating crosses the state divide to the Lake Erie basin, this morning rated below normal from the Cuyahoga River watershed east to the state border, including all parts of the Grand River and Ashtabula-Chagrin River watersheds.

In the Lake Erie west basin, severe drought grips all of Auglaize River watershed. St. Joseph, Tiffin, Blanchard and Lower Maumee River watersheds are rated below normal again today.

In the west and central state, the drought map claims the Paint River watershed in the Scioto River basin, central Ohio south of the divide. The lower Great Miami River watershed is likewise rated below normal in the southwest again today, impacting Preble, Montgomery, Butler and Hamilton Counties.

The extended period of below normal flows in the Ohio River basin is contributing to the worst drought season on record with extreme wildfire conditions and water infrastructure damage in Louisiana. Visit WTLA.us for more information on downstream effects.
Hazardous Spills reported to OEPA 1-800-282-9378
A vehicle incident on I-475 in Monclova Township, Lucas County yesterday resulted in a spill of 100 gallons of diesel fuel that impacted an unnamed waterway. The incident report indicates 65 gallons of diesel recovered from the scene.

A release of foam was reported over the weekend from Glenway Avenue in Cincinatti. This is a hazardous spill of interest as 2000 gallons of foam released near the Ohio River. The Ohio River is a drinking water source not only for Cincinnati but for populations downstream. With the watershed layers switched on, the map shows the potential impact zones of hazardous spills, that manage to reach a waterway, either directly discharged in a creek or indirectly, escaping through a storm drain. The US Fire Administration explains aqueous film-forming foams (AFFF) "is highly concerning because it contains PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances). PFAS are toxic chemicals known to negatively impact human health and do not easily break down in the environment, waterways, wildlife, or human bodies." More to come.

Harmful Algal Bloom update based on the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS) satellite monitoring program
The latest satellite image available from NCCOS was captured Thursday, Nov 16. The image is mostly clear, showing HABs continuing to increase in size through Lake Erie, including inland waterbodies Maumee River, the bay at Metzer Marsh and the east side Catawba Island. HABs are seen once again in Sandusky Bay inner bay area at the highest concentration estimated 200 thousand cells per 100 ml. HABs are visible today in the outer Sandusky Bay area along the bay side of Cedar Point at 100 thousand cells per 100 ml.

A band of HAB can be seen along the Michigan shoreline from North Maumee Bay's Erie Marsh Preserve, stretching up the Luna beach past Monroe and across the international border, appearing along the north Lake Erie shore in Canada. Similar concentration HABs in Maumee Bay have increased in area, the bloom seen yesterday off the shore of Carland Beach is now at shore. A significant HAB area appears up the Maumee River and fills the outlet inner Maumee Bay. The small localized HAB near Harbor View Yacht Club has increased in area, more small HABs appear along Maumee State Park Beach toward Cedar Point National Wildlife Refuge.

The large HAB is growing in the bay of Metzer Marsh Wildlife Area could be considered widespread today. Localized HAB at Camp Perry and another west of Portage River outlet not far from Port Clinton all match the color scale for a concentration of 100 thousand cells per 100 ml. A small HAB now appears on the west shore of Catawba Island, with HABs filling the inland water bodies on the east side Catawba Island as we saw yesterday.

The island shorelines are cloud obscured in the Nov 16 image. Yesterday we saw South Bass Island had sprouted a new HAB off the west shore, joining the small HAB we spotted Monday off the northeast shore. Isle St George HABs had more than doubled in area, appearing in the southwest and southeast as of Thursday. The same small localized HAB spotted Monday on the lake side of Sandusky Bay's Cedar Point is visible at 100 thousand cells per 100 ml. The small localized bloom at the Huron shore is not visible Friday due to cloud cover, however we see another localized HAB along the shore near the Vermilion River outlet, all of these HABs are matching the color scale for a moderate concentration of 100 thousand cells per 100 ml.

Public drinking water facilities are required to monitor for algal toxin as per the OEPA standard bi-weekly testing until the first full week of December. Total microcystins test results above the minimum reporting threshold are posted on Ohio Drinking Water Watch.

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