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.

Fernan Lake in Idaho is a newcomer to CyanoAlert – and lake users have been urged to avoid the water.  Lake Attitash is a regular to CyanoAlert and a new advisory has just been issued for this lake long plagued by algal blooms.

Tests last week confirmed the return of blue-green algae to the lake, which straddles Amesbury and Merrimac, leading state officials to reinstitute an advisory that the public steer clear of the water.

A water sample taken from the lake on July 3 once again contained dangerously high concentrations of cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae, according to the Lake Attitash Association. The sample showed cyanobacteria levels of 85,000 cells per milliliter, exceeding the state guideline of 70,000 cells per milliliter.

Up in Washington State, Gibbs Lake is off-limits:

Warning signs went up Friday at the popular swimming hole south of Port Townsend after results of a water sample test discovered that the level of microcystin, a toxin created by blue-green algae, had risen above the safety threshold.

“People should not swim in the lake now,” said Greg Thomason, Jefferson County environmental health specialist, on Friday just before he left his office to erect the new signs.

“Stay out of the water.”

The level of microcystin jumped to 7.9 micrograms per liter of water last week after having been measured at only a trace the week earlier.

Levels of phosphorus in Lake Champlain are rocketing up – Droplets readers will by now know the relationship between eutrophication, phosphorus and harmful algal blooms.  Late June to early July saw the equally-rapid appearance of pea-soup-like algal blooms.

After a banner year in 2011 for phosphorus runoff, the photosynthetic bacteria’s favorite food, major parks along Lake Champlain have had to close their waters this past month.

Last week, Ferrisburgh’s Kingsland Bay State Park closed its beach due to heavy blooms, and South Burlington’s Red Rocks Beach did the same. Ryan L’Heureux, assistant ranger at Kingsland Bay, wasn’t able to find any records of the bay closing in the past for this reason, and in his four years working at the park, he had never seen the blue-green blooms take over its waters.

The recent spate of hot weather in North Carolina has concerned officials who, quite rightly, believe that this may lead to an increase in the severity of noxious algal blooms.  Algal blooms have been reported for many lakes across the state.

State environmental and health officials recently issued an alert for people and their pets to avoid oversized blooms of algae brought on by the period of excessive heat across the Triad and most of the state. 

Source: China News

It seems not long ago that the Olympics were in China and we were being treated to those amazing images of the marine algal bloom that caused problems back then.  Well, as the photo above shows, the problem persists!  I wonder if the rowing venue in London is algae-free?

The global increase in algal bloom-related problems has been linked to climate change effects.

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