Not only does it form the basis of the aquatic food web, algae can put a lid on bovine burps. It is also made into a substitute for fossil fuels, and is a heathy and tasty food supplement for humans.
But in late summer and early fall, some algae can spread toxins through freshwater lakes and rivers, posing a risk to people, pets, fish, and more. Be on the lookout in northern NY State this season for outbreaks of algae. » Continue Reading.
The Adirondack Lakes Alliance will hold its 5th annual Symposium at Paul Smith’s College on Thursday, August 1, with the focus on Harmful Algal Blooms. The theme is Preparing for Challenges: Tools, Resources and Coordination.
The Lake Champlain Committee’s (LCC) 2019 cyanobacteria monitoring season gets underway the week of June 16. Everyone who uses, enters, or goes near the Lake Champlain should have a general awareness of cyanobacteria, often referred to as blue-green algae.
These are a wide group of organisms, including species that are native, common and natural, but under certain conditions can create extensive blooms that can be a potential health hazard. Cyanobacteria warnings are posted each summer in Lake Champlain and other local lakes. » Continue Reading.
The Lake Champlain Committee (LCC) is recruiting citizens interested in water quality to serve as cyanobacteria (aka blue-green algae) monitors for Lake Champlain and select inland Vermont lakes. LCC will host training sessions in early June for new and returning monitors. The program provides critical data on where and when algae blooms are happening and is relied on by health, environmental and recreation agencies to keep people informed about lake conditions.
LCC initiated the citizen-based near-shore monitoring program in 2003 and has steadily expanded the network of trained volunteers and monitoring sites every year. During the 2016 season LCC monitors submit nearly 1,200 reports from over 100 sites on Lake Champlain and several inland lakes. The focus of the cyanobacteria monitoring program is to raise awareness of the issue, build a database of information on bloom frequency, and identify and publicize potential health hazards. » Continue Reading.
Every year heavy rains in the Northeast cause wastewater treatment plants to reach and exceed capacity, with attendant overflows and sewage spills directly into lakes and rivers. Population growth, aging infrastructure and increased storm intensity are resulting in wastewater treatment plants legally allowing overflow of untreated sewage into waterways. This has included both raw sewage and graywater. Outdated and inadequate infrastructure (both public and private) are lending to the potential increase in toxic algal blooms and pathogens within the waters we drink from and recreate in.
When wastewater spills or is dumped into a body of water, it contains pharmaceuticals, synthetic hormones, pollutants and nutrients that can feed algal growth. There is an impact to the aquatic ecosystem from raw sewage or partially treated effluent that makes their way into our freshwater resources. » Continue Reading.
The increase in temperatures and decreasing water levels in bodies of water are setting the stage for an increase in algal growth within our waterways. Littoral (nearshore) algal blooms are already visible, and Cyanobacteria (blue-green) algal blooms have recently closed down beaches in Lake Champlain.
Algae, the base of the aquatic food web is important to our aquatic ecosystems. They provide food for many organisms and create oxygen and shelter. Algae remove nutrients directly from the water column. If excessive nutrients enter our waterways, the nearshore algae will respond by blooming. The more nutrients that enter, the more algal growth there will be. Generally 1 pound of phosphorus will grow 500 pounds of wet algae. Phosphorus is not the only nutrient needed, nitrogen and carbon are needed to cause a bloom. » Continue Reading.
The Great Lakes Research Consortium has awarded $44,819.00 for research projects that will investigate vitamin B deficiency in Lake Ontario fish, analyze a dataset on harmful algal blooms in nearly 200 lakes in New York State, and test DNA-based barcoding as a way to more accurately analyze the Great Lakes food web.
The Great Lakes Research Consortium, based at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF) in Syracuse, is awarding funds to The College at Brockport, Cornell University, the Upstate Freshwater Institute, and SUNY-ESF. Project collaborators include the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, New York State Federation of Lake Associations, and U.S. Geological Survey Lake Ontario Biological Field Station. » Continue Reading.
On cold winter days, feeding sticks of firewood into my woodstove, I sometimes pause, my eye caught by lichens. Splotchy circles, lacy tendrils. Soft gray, muted gray-green, black. They mottle the bark. When I look out the window next to my desk, I see splashes of lichen on the roof of my workshop, and on the stone walls across the road.
Lichens are virtually everywhere. They live in some of the harshest environments on our planet, from Antarctica to the high Arctic, deserts and high peaks, in forests tropical and temperate. They can grow not only on rock, but in it, between grains and crystals. According to Steve Selva, a lichenologist and professor emeritus at the University of Maine at Fort Kent, there’s even a type that grows on barnacles. Selva has spent four decades studying lichens. He created and still contributes to and maintains the school’s extensive lichen collection. » Continue Reading.
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