PUT-IN-BAY, Ohio - Researchers are predicting that harmful algae will form on Lake Erie this summer but the bloom probably will be considerably smaller than those of recent years.

University and government scientists released a forecast Thursday for the western portion of the lake, where algae blooms fueled by farm runoff and sewage treatment plants have turned the water pea-soup green in recent decades.

The bloom that spread across the lake last summer was the largest on record, spreading scum for 300 square miles. In 2014, algae rendered tap water undrinkable for two days in Toledo, Ohio, and parts of southeastern Michigan.

Richard Stumpf of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says less rainfall this spring reduced the amount of phosphorus and other nutrients washing into the lake, which should mean less algae.