The Maumee Basin Phosphorus Coop

The Maumee Basin Phosphorus Coop is a collective agricultural infrastructure network undertaken by the Great Lakes Architectural Expedition in collaboration with Lake Erie’s representatives and a coalition of farmers in the Maumee River watershed basin outside Toledo. Clusters of algal turf scrubbers pass agricultural runoff over an acre of algae-covered mesh curtains, removing toxins and sequestering carbon simultaneously. Collected around the tributaries of the Maumee River, the scrubbers join the agricultural-industrial landscape of northwest Ohio.

Agricultural runoff was a prime cause of the harmful algal blooms in the summer of 2014 which deprived half a million of drinking water for days. In the wake of these blooms, Toledo declared Lake Erie a person with a bill of rights - a compact which provides the backbone of The Great Lakes Architectural Expedition’s activities in the Lake Erie watershed.

Project Team: Anthony Selvaggio, Melissa Folzenlogen, Noël Michel, Sofia Kuspan, Kate Lubbers, Patrick Sardo

Photography by Stephen Takacs; Philip Arnold; and Galen Pardee