Reports of toxic algal blooms from new places…

31 July 2012

Some reports of algal blooms from waters new to Droplets:

From Washington (Olympia) comes a report that their Ward Lake has been plagued by blue-green algal all summer long – and the problems may provide the catalyst for officialdom and the public to combine in seeking a solution. Read more »

Four dogs die from algal toxins in Indiana

30 July 2012

Last week saw the sad deaths of four dogs  – after they had swum at Salamonie Reservoir in Indiana – a state that has several lakes currently under algal bloom warnings.  Salamonie is currently experiencing very low water levels as a result of the drought. Read more »

Oregon lakes lost 1175 days to algal blooms during 2011

16 July 2012

Statistics just released (see below) reveal that Oregon experienced a total of 18 algal bloom advisories during 2011, resulting in use of the affected lakes being constrained for a total of 1179 days, an average of 65 days per lake!  This must have had massive economic implications as two months of lost business during the summer season is a lot.  Three of the lakes were under advisory for more than 160 days.  The total was, however, 237 days less than that for 2010 – but with the data showing a massive increase since 2005.  Total days under advisory doubled between 2007 and 2008, and again from 2009 to 2010. Read more »

Public urged to be alert to algal blooms

16 July 2012

Wisconsin, the cheese state according to Larry the Cable Guy, is warning its residents to avoid algal-rich lake water this summer.  Problems in the state – this year – started with the bloom in Lake Mendota back in June.  A similar warning has been issued in Canada’s New Brunswick province.  Dairy farmers in North Dakota have been warned to not take algal blooms in their livestock water supplies too lightly. Read more »

Oregon reports it’s first algal bloom for 2012

15 July 2012

Oregon commenced with issuing algal warnings back in 2000 – and the state has published many since then. Unlike other early-reporting states, Oregon has only now issued its first alert for 2012 – this for Jacksons Creek. Read more »

Washington State awards $82 million for clean water projects & jobs

15 July 2012

A recent press release (see text below) from Washington State (WS) USA has announced the availability of, in South African Rands (ZAR) terms, R680 million worth of funding for water resource protection projects, i.e. rectifying problems and fixing stuff.

This is an sound example of breaking out of the inertia of “studying the problem” and getting on with the business of applied science = problem solving.  In all too many cases too much effort is applied to formulating rules and regulations, and then again and again reviewing and re-hashing these, rather than addressing the already well-defined and understood problems head-on.  So, there is a tendency to remain knee-deep in paperwork and procedures, rather than finding out which applied solutions work best. Read more »

Guide to the common diatoms of South Africa now available on-line

10 July 2012

A few years ago, the second of my Diatom Assessment Protocol projects produced various tools supporting the use of diatoms for the biomonitoring of rivers and streams in South Africa.  One of the manuals was an illustrated guide to the most common diatoms found in South Africa and, given the cosmopolitan nature of the common forms, in many other countries as well.  This manual, originally produced by the Water Research Commission, went “out of print” very soon and is no longer available and the related research and development is no longer being funded.  However, given the large number of requests that my colleagues and I receive for this work, it is now available off the DHEC website.

An Illustrated Guide to Some Common Diatom Species from South Africa, by Taylor, Archibald and Harding

Information about Washington State’s freshwater toxic algae blooms now a click away

9 July 2012

You can now go online ( to see if your favorite lake is having problems with toxic algae blooms that can hurt you, your kids or your pets. Read more »

Algal warnings from Canada

9 July 2012

Blue-green algal blooms have been reported for Estrie in Quebec and from New Brunswick.  From Europe comes yet more scientific proof that global warming will increase the proliferation of algae in lakes and the marine environment, bringing about ecosystem alterations caused by, inter alia, oxygen deprivation.   Read more »

Fishing Out Phosphorus – Another Success Story for Floating Islands

9 July 2012

High-rate phosphorus removal floating island, the “Leviathan”

Researchers at Floating Island International (FII) in Shepherd, Mont., an agricultural region, are fishing nonpoint source nutrients out of 2.6-ha (6.5-ac) Fish Fry Lake. Bruce Kania, FII project development director, uses rod and reel to maintain floating treatment wetlands (FTWs) in the lake. Fishing is all part of the job; experienced anglers can catch one fish every 2 minutes at Fish Fry, he said.

BioHaven Floating Islands are providing an increasing number of high-value water quality services – and helping to process unwanted nutrients (well, wanted by algae but we don’t want them to have any more food than is absolutely necessary) into fish biomass is just one of them!

Read the full article or contact DH Environmental Consulting ( for more information about applications in South Africa.