31 July 2011


Chaoborus (phantom ghost midge) larva (10 mm in length), Rietvlei (South Africa) Photo: Bill Harding

Nebraska has issued  health alerts for three lakes. Officials said Friday that water samples taken from the Lone State Lake in Fillmore County, Rockford Lake in Gage County and Maskenthine Lake in Stanton County showed high levels of a toxin released by blue-green algae.  Oregon public health officials have issued a warning about high algae levels in Diamond Lake just north of Crater Lake National Park.

Head and mouthparts of this predator, Chaoborus. Photo: Bill Harding

In Kansas, the blue-green algae advisories for Old Herington Lake and Marion Reservoir have been lifted.

In the UK the algal bloom in Pembrokeshire continues.

CyanoAlert – dog dies in Oregon

30 July 2011

Public health officials have issued a warning about high algae levels in the South Umpqua River near Myrtle Creek.  The water was tested after a dog died and people saw a scum of algae there, officials said in a news release.   The Oregon Veterinary Medical Association says the South Umpqua River near Myrtle Creek has been added to the warning list for blue-green algae.  Also in  Oregon a health advisory prompted by high algae levels found in Diamond Lake, located seven miles north of Crater Lake National Park. Read more »

Motor Neuron Disease Survey Progressing Well

29 July 2011

Alzheimers Disease is the second most-feared condition after cancer.  Most adults (82%) have done nothing to prepare themselves for the possibility that they will develop a debilitating, possibly terminal, neurodegenerative disease (see What America Thinks). Read more »

CyanoAlert – 35 sangliers morts

29 July 2011

Oshkosh, home of the world’s biggest airshow (although at the moment everyone is at EAA AirVenture), has an algal bloom in Lake Winnebago. Health officials in Winnebago, Calumet and Fond du Lac counties have issued warnings for blue-green algae on the lake. In Virginia, an algal bloom in Stafford County’s Aquia Creek is a health risk to humans and pets, the county said Thursday. Read more »

CyanoAlert – alert services receive approval!

28 July 2011

The fundamental reason for CyanoAlert, funded completely by DH Environmental Consulting as a free service to anyone who wishes to make use of it, is to help expand a general and accurate understanding of blue-green algae (cyanobacteria).  In this regard we welcome any comments regarding the usefulness of this service.  On a similar note, Wisconsin’s Rapid Tribune has been thanked for their efforts to do much the same. Also in Wisconsin, local government official Joe Parisi has already started a program working with farm families to combat a long time blue-green algae problem in Dane county’s lakes and when it comes to public safety he feels he’s made some great strides.  This type of stand is very rare amongst local government officials and politicians.  The Sudbury and District Health Unit advises people using lakes and rivers to be on the lookout for algal blooms and has provided a list of warning signs.  Health Units in Ontario are publishing similar information. Read more »

History of the Cape Flats Vleis: Paardevlei

28 July 2011

After a lull, herewith more information on the vleis of the Cape Flats:

Paardevlei, partially drained (2005), view west. Photo: Bill Harding

Paardevlei is a small, impounded vlei within the property of the former AECI factory complex situated west of the Strand (see Figure 1). The vlei, the largest of a former complex of similar shallow systems on the property, received water diverted from the Lourens River via the Melcksloot since the early 1900s. Until quite recently the vlei was eutrophic (highly nutrient enriched), and experienced frequent blooms of noxious cyanobacterial (i.e. blue-green algae). In that form the vlei offered only limited habitat diversity and aquatic ecosystem services. The propensity to support development of cyanobacteria further posed a significant health risk to humans and animals, as well as imposing a negative impact on the overall biodiversity and future use potential of the vlei. Read more »

CyanoAlert – algae poison French boars !

27 July 2011

Who doesn't love a warthog? (Photo: Bill Harding)

Not often we hear anything on cyanobacteria from France but dozens of wild boars have turned up dead this month around a beach in western France, officials say. The presence of poisonous blue-green algae is suspected for the deaths.  Not to be outdone, from England is reported that people are being urged not to swim or let animals into the water at a Burton beauty spot due to poisonous algae. East Staffordshire Borough Council has placed signs around Branston Water Park warning people not to go into the water. Read more »

New DHEC report on fish in South African dams published!

27 July 2011

A recent DHEC investigation to examine the species composition and biomass of fish in eutrophic South African lakes has been published by the Water Research Commission. Report No 1643/1/10, entitled “Characterization of the fishery assemblages in a suite of eutrophic and hypertrophic South African dams”.   Read more »

The internet not always a reliable source!

26 July 2011

There is a LOT of rubbish on the internet, which makes it dangerous for those who rely on it as a reputable source of information.  Here is an example:

Oddly entitled “The Types and Effects of Algae Water” – Ok, the title already indicates close the site, this Ezine article maintains that “Algae come from types of spores that are carried around via the wind! ”  Shooting itself in the other foot, it goes on “It is an asexual, single-cell organism that lives and breathes like other plants; however it is not as complex as general plants with stems and more multifaceted reproductive systems. Since it is a form of bacteria, it fertilizes itself and grows from there“.  It also refers to algae as a “substance“.

The crime is that the uninformed will believe and propagate this drivel!



CyanoAlert – pot pourri

26 July 2011

A mixed bag of reports today:

The level of toxin in Anderson Lake (Wash) has fallen, but the water is still considered lethal. Test results found 21 micrograms of anatoxin-a, a powerful and quick-acting neurotoxin, per liter of lake water.  Concerns about algal toxins in Milford Lake(Kansas) are being assessed.  Blue-green algal warnings are now in place at 10 locations in Kansas and livestock farmers have been warned to be on the alert.

The hot, dry weather has literally caused an explosion of toxic blue-green algae in Geist and Morse reservoirs (Indianapolis).  Yet another Ohio warning has been posted, this time for Lake Alma.

A lifting of the warning at Fish Lake (Oregon) is imminent if not already issued.

To end off with, there are still some places where dosing lakes with copper sulphate is allowed.  Hard to believe but there it is.  In Maryland, Lake Linganore and the Fishing Creek Reservoir are to be dosed with this toxic compound – long banned in most sensible countries for dosing into lakes and rivers.  According to the report, “It is a safe way to reduce the algae, which is not a health problem but can cause an unpleasant odor and taste in public water systems, according to Craig Lambert, wastewater superintendent“. You need to check your sources, Craig!  I understand that Indianapolis, following advice from Australia, uses copper sulphate on a big scale!