Algae in Waters Near You?
21, 2013 -Tom Joseph
HARRISBURG - It's found in lakes, ponds and rivers and can threaten habitat and
health: toxic algae is a growing problem across the country, according to a
recent report. The National Wildlife Federation and Resource Media looked at
occurrences of toxic algae this summer, and found that 21 states had issued
health advisories and warnings related to harmful algae blooms.
Federation's Andy Buchsbaum said such blooms often form when rainfall carries
excess nutrients from agriculture and storm debris into rivers and streams.
this is "not just the green algae that gums up your boat or your motor,
but this is toxic algae that actually has human health effects and can kill
your pets. So, it's a national problem we expect to see in every state."
to the report, extreme weather spurred by climate change is exacerbating the
problem. Buchsbaum said another issue is the abundance of fertilizer being used
on fields and in parks.
can make a difference by reducing the nutrients that feed the algae," he
said. "That's the number-one response that we can have. We can't control
the weather, we can't control temperature of the water, but we can control
those nutrient inputs."
more federal attention to the problem is needed, including limiting the amount
of phosphorus allowed into waters.
said it's a problem that flies below the national radar, because no federal
agency tracks lake closures or health warnings, and there is little research on
the costs associated with hazardous algae blooms. Pockets of toxic blue-green
algae have been spotted for the first time in Pennsylvania this year in Lake
Erie's Presque Isle Bay, off the city of Erie, and have been an ongoing problem
in the Allegheny Reservoir in Warren and McKean counties.
report is at ToxicAlgaeNews.com.