31 May 2011

A couple of posts ago I mentioned the alacrity with which lake managers in the US make use of aquatic herbicides.  Seems this does not hold for everyone, as a report from Indiana explains “Last year, anglers blamed a lake-wide herbicide treatment of that plant for worsening the lake’s water clarity, sparking the growth of algae and reducing stands of native plants that provide habitat for fish“.  Lake Attitash, also mentioned recently, will spend $75000 to try and get rid of a milfoil invasion.  As they are already prone to blue-green algae, they may just end up with green soup!  St Petersburg (Florida), not the cold one, has joined the list of towns banning fertilizers for lawns this summer – “From June through September, residents can’t buy or apply those fertilizers. The ban is intended to protect waterways from algae blooms and fish kills“.

The State of Ohio continues to be worried about algal blooms in their lakes this summer – where  The Columbus Dispatch reports that “warning signs were posted last year at 20 public lakes, pond and beaches. David Culver, who works at an Ohio State lab that studies freshwater ecology, predicts this year will be the same because heavy rainfall this spring has sent nutrients that supply algae into waterways“.  Geist Lake (home of the Indianapolis Yacht Club) also has problems with experts reporting that “blue-green algae has [sic]  started to bloom and can release toxins into the water. If left on the skin too long, the algae can cause a rash. If it’s swallowed, it can cause nausea and stomach aches”.

Beach recreation in Holland forms a very important part of the Dutch summer – and problems often arise from algal blooms in their shallow lakes (that become warm and soupy very quickly).  Proactive monitoring is, therefore important and the Dutch Government has awarded this years tender for bathing beach monitoring. “During the bathing season personnel will travel over 50,000 kilometres, conducting weekly inspections and sampling of 230 bathing sites. Swimming water monitoring includes field observations and surface water sampling, with laboratory analyses for bacteriological parameters, including cyanobacteria“.

This blog has commented on the search for solutions to the water quality at Wanaka Lake (New Zealand).  The costs of avoiding their algal problems are substantial, with options such as”lakeside bores to reduce algae intake ($1 million), installing microstrainers to remove some of the algae ($3 million-$4 million), or installing membrane filtration for an absolute barrier ($14 million)”.

Goulburn-Murray Water has removed the blue-green algae warning for Lake Eppalock and Little Lake Charm, following a decline in algae levels (see earlier in this blog for when these were imposed).

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