By DANA MASSING, Erie Times-News

Great Lakes biologist Jim Grazio wouldn't expect harmful algea bloom in Presque Isle Bay and nearby Lake Erie now. But that doesn't mean they couldn't be a problem here later.

"Things seem to be getting worse in the last decade or so," Grazio said. "HABs seem to be starting earlier, persisting longer and increasing in frequency."

These dense populations of algae, which contain toxins and can harm fish and humans, have especially been growing in the western basin of Lake Erie, around bays in Ohio, prompting a Pennsylvania senator to ask the Environmental Protection Agency for help. U.S. Sen. Bob Casey sent a letter to the EPA in December, encouraging the agency to work to improve the water quality in Lake Erie.

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