DescriptionThe thick, viscous green algae flowers now cover Lake Erie.As the leaves and crops on the land took on the typical orange and brown autumn colors, Lake Erie continues to show vivid shades of green. The thick, viscous algae flowers covered Lake Erie once more last week, stretching for more than 700 square miles. Such brightly colored flowers have increased in size and frequency since the 2000s.The lake now experiences algae blooms every summer. Similar blooms are occurring in lakes around the world as a result of warming temperatures and increased use of fertilizers, resulting from increased agricultural needs to feed a growing world population.Part of the flower-cyanobacteria-can produce a toxin that seeps into drinking water and poisons local ecosystems. Toxins, called microcystins, can cause liver damage among other adverse health effects in humans. However, not all algal blooms increase to the level of toxicity. Current lake algae streams are being monitored and their toxicity as so far remained low.