Will Toxic Algae Return This Summer?
Are algal and algae the same thing?
An algal bloom is a rapid increase or accumulation in the population of algae in freshwater or marine water systems and is recognized by the discoloration in the water from their pigments. Cyanobacteria were mistaken for algae in the past, so cyanobacterial blooms are sometimes also called algal blooms. [Wikipedia]
The EPA says harmful algal blooms are a major environmental problem in all 50 states. Known as red tides, blue-green algae or cyanobacteria, harmful algal blooms have severe impacts on human health, aquatic ecosystems and the economy. Health officials are warning of the dangers of the toxic blue-green algae that are plaguing our lakes and rivers.
***Toxic algae blooms can be green, blue, red or brown. They can be scummy or look like paint on the surface of the water. Algal blooms can be toxic. Keep people and pets away from water that is green, scummy or smells bad.***
What are harmful algal blooms?
Harmful algal blooms are overgrowths of algae in the water. Some produce dangerous toxins in fresh or marine water, but even nontoxic blooms hurt the environment and local economies.
What are the effects of harmful algal blooms?
They can produce hazardous toxins that can sicken or kill people and animals
What do harmful algal blooms need to thrive?
Nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus)
Nutrient pollution from human activities makes the problem worse, leading to more severe blooms that occur more often.
NewYorkUpstate.com says "the state Department of Environmental Conservation has confirmed blue-green algae blooms in eight water bodies across the state, from Long Island to Western New York. Last year, 150 water bodies had toxic algae blooms for at least part of the summer or fall... Skaneateles Lake, the unfiltered source of drinking water for Syracuse, had its first bloom in memory... A $65 million program has been launched by New York to combat the blooms...While commonly known as algae, the blooms are actually cyanobacteria. The blooms can carry liver toxins that can sicken people and kill pets. Last year, a neurotoxin particularly deadly to dogs was found in an algae bloom in Owasco Lake."