Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Lake Ontario Algae Bloom News

More algal blooms in Ontario's lakes

... In a scientific paper entitled Algal blooms in Ontario, Canada: increases in reports since 1994, Dr. Jenny Winter and co-authors reported that public reporting of algal blooms in Ontario lakes has increased significantly from 1994 to 2009.

Further investigation by the team revealed that more than half of the reports in any year were for blooms of blue-green algae. This is a concern because some strains, of some species of blue-green algae, are potentially toxic.

...A rise in reports of algal blooms in Ontario is consistent with the observation that algal blooms are increasing in lakes throughout the world. Nutrient enrichment (in other words, increasing additions of phosphorus to lakes) is the leading cause globally, with blooms further exacerbated by climate change.
In Ontario, higher phosphorus concentrations are indeed part of the story. There are lakes near Sudbury, for example, where increased shoreline development and urbanization have contributed to higher phosphorus levels, and consequently, algal blooms.

However, in recent years, blue-green algal blooms have also been observed in lakes with low or declining phosphorus concentrations, suggesting that phosphorus is not the whole story.

Cottage Country Now -
18 Jan 2012
A Paterson

Cited Journal Article
Lake and Reservoir Management. 2011; 27:105–112. doi:10.1080/07438141.2011.557765
JG White et al.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Lake Erie Algae Bloom News

Senator seeks EPA help with harmful algae in Lake Erie

Toxic algae bloom in Lake Erie. Image credit: NASA Earth Observatory 
Great Lakes biologist Jim Grazio wouldn't expect harmful algal blooms in Presque Isle Bay and nearby Lake Erie now. But that doesn't mean they couldn't be a problem here later.

"Things seem to be getting worse in the last decade or so," Grazio said. "HABs seem to be starting earlier, persisting longer and increasing in frequency."

These dense populations of algae, which contain toxins and can harm fish and humans, have especially been growing in the western basin of Lake Erie, around bays in Ohio, prompting a Pennsylvania senator to ask the Environmental Protection Agency for help. U.S. Sen. Bob Casey sent a letter to the EPA in December, encouraging the agency to work to improve the water quality in Lake Erie.

...An EPA regional administrator responded with a letter this month saying Jackson shares Casey's concerns. Susan Hedman wrote that in Jackson's capacity as chairwoman of the Great Lakes Inter-Agency Task Force, she recently identified "the reduction of algae blooms" as a Great Lakes Restoration Initiative priority.

Go Erie -
21 Jan 2012
D Massing