GIBRALTAR ISLAND, Ohio -- Officials are predicting this year's toxic blue-green algae bloom in Lake Erie's western basin will be much smaller than last year's bloom, which hurt tourism and increased the cost of water treatments.

The Blade in Toledo reports a team of researchers collaborated on a seasonal algae prediction this year and concluded it will be mild compared with worsening blooms over the past few years. That's because there's been less rain than usual, reducing the phosphorus available to feed algae growth.

The director of Ohio State University's Sea Grant program says less rain means less phosphorus reaching the lake in runoff from farmland and wastewater treatment plants.

He says it's good news but isn't a permanent solution.

The algae produce bacteria that can kill animals and sicken humans.