CARROLL TOWNSHIP - U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown paid a visit to Ottawa County Friday for a firsthand look at Lake Erie algae issues and lead a roundtable discussion on water quality.

The Ohio Democrat took a brief tour of Lake Erie aboard a charter boat and directed questions to key regional experts on harmful algal blooms and what people may need to prepare for this year along the lake.

"It kind of gets your attention when you see it up close," Brown said.

The veteran senator said he got a detailed explanation of how Lake Erie algae sinks and clogs water intakes.

Chris Winslow, director of Ohio Sea Grant, joined Brown on the charter boat.

He said the senator asked for an update about the 2019 HAB season.

An initial early HAB season projection noted that heavy rains in April produced high river flow and large phosphorus loads.

Those heavy rains have continued into May and June across Northwest Ohio.

The latest NOAA projection predicts an algal bloom severity greater than 7. A final seasonal forecast is scheduled in July.

"Based on the information we're seeing now, this would be the third or fourth largest bloom on record," Winslow said.

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