Algae--A Specific Rant


Meyer Jordan

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Yep. gonna beat on that dead horse some more, but not how it relates to Garden Ponds. This is on a much larger scale and its effect on people and the environment. In particular, what is going on in the State that I call home...Florida.

For the past couple of decades, areas of Central Florida have experienced increasing problems with algae blooms clogging the public waterways. This year has been exceptionally bad. It has caused property values to plummet, tourism to tank and in some cases affected the health of the nearby residents.
These algae blooms are caused by the exact same culprits as in Garden Ponds.....excess Nitrate and Phosphorus. These excess nutrients are the result of poor management by Big Ag and Live stock production.
Has the State of Florida,taken any corrective action. Well yes, if you want to count blaming the Army Corps of Engineers for mishandling the water flow in this area which includes Lake Okeechobee and its inflow and outflow waterways and ultimately the Florida Everglades.
As is typical with some political mindsets, when Big Business is involved, ignore the science in favor of the bottom line. Our Governor claims that pollution is not the real cause.
I have posted only a few photos of what people in this area are dealing with TODAY.
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Not just Florida, we just had our water rights shut down until the blue green algae is gone. We use irrigation water from the Utah Lake that goes into the Jordan River and then canal systems throughout the valley to various people who own water rights. We use this water to water our yard and gardens. The water has never been "clean" but now its "dangerous". Using the water rights to flood our yard we only have to water once a week when its 100 degrees outside. With a sprinkler we have to water every other day to keep things alive and with temps only getting down into the 80's at night most of the water form the sprinklers just evaporates and is a waste of good drinking water, plus very expensive. But our problems are small beans compared to the local farmers who have had their only water source cut off in the middle of July with 100 degree days. They will loose their entire crops in less than a week.

Here is the article about our local B/G algae problem :(
http://www.ksl.com/?sid=40706853&nid=148

And here are a couple of pictures I took this morning of the feeder canal that runs through our backyard. This was taken right after the Water Quality folks shut it off. It's dry now.

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Eyoww Gross! I'm in Michigan and I'm seeing the same thing, but not as bad on our inland waters and my pond is pea soup this year; could be this is just a bad year for algae. I'm not positive but it seems like every time we transition from an El Nino to a La Nina we have a bad algae year. My above water plants seem unusually luscious this year too.
 

Meyer Jordan

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Yes, water shortages are an ever present issue in most of the Western states. In parts of Central Florida, they are also experiencing cyanbacteria blooms (Blue-green algae) which often are toxic. These blooms are literally occurring in what is many peoples back yards. Yet the polticos in power refuse to recognize that big business is true source of the problem.
 
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Yes, water shortages are an ever present issue in most of the Western states. In parts of Central Florida, they are also experiencing cyanbacteria blooms (Blue-green algae) which often are toxic. These blooms are literally occurring in what is many peoples back yards. Yet the polticos in power refuse to recognize that big business is true source of the problem.

I began reading about it since it has a direct affect on the food we grow in our garden and was amazed by how little is known. Boiling the water does not make it safe it only concentrates the harmful toxins. There is no filtration system they know of that filters the blue/green algae toxins and they have no idea what type of health impact it has on food grown using water tainted with blue/green algae.

Initially I thought "wait, how do they know so little with so much science out there today". Then I realized because no one will fund studying of blue/green algae since the culprits are big AG and if someone figured out just how bad it is for us they may have to answer for what they have done. So it's just radio silence across the board.

In other news Michael Burry (who by researching the patterns and numbers saw the 2008 housing crash coming in 2005, was the first to short the housing market when everyone else was calling him crazy and made millions by doing so) has gotten out of managing funds all together and is now only investing in water. That should should speak volumes.
 
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Eyoww Gross! I'm in Michigan and I'm seeing the same thing, but not as bad on our inland waters and my pond is pea soup this year; could be this is just a bad year for algae. I'm not positive but it seems like every time we transition from an El Nino to a La Nina we have a bad algae year. My above water plants seem unusually luscious this year too.

This specific blue/green algae is much different than what we normally see in our ponds which is harmless. Local animals are dieing from drinking this water and fish cannot survive in it.
 
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Meyer Jordan

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This is positively terrifying, no living thing can survive without healthy water. I've been disgusted by media reports in FL and know people, who've canceled vacations due to the algae.

Wow, on Michael Burry.
 
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Interesting photos Meyer. Lake Erie is having its problems too.
 
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We keep our boat on the St Lucie canal, in Indiantown. About half way between Stuart and Lake Okeechobee. Spent a month on it in March. I love that area, and was very saddened to see this happen.
 
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I wouldn't be so quick to blame farmers for the entire problem. Yes they use fretilizer which does contribute but fertilizer isn't the only reason for the problem. As noted in the responses the problem is far reaching in lakes all over the country as well as all over the world. Phosphates were banned many years ago in laundry detergent but the problem still exists in Lake Erie. Nature plays a roll but nature never gets blamed for problems when man is an easier thing to control. Give me food and let the scientists spend there time figuring out how to grow it with less harmful products instead of spending their time and tax payer money on finding someone to blame.
What are the causes of blue-green algae blooms?
Blue-green algae can reproduce quickly in favourable conditions where there is still or slow-flowing water, abundant sunlight and sufficient levels of nutrients, especially nitrogen and phosphorus. In still conditions, surface water may form a separate warm top layer ('stratification') in which blue-green algae is able to access sunlight and nutrients. If these combined factors are present for several days, algae multiply and form large 'blooms'. The process of excess nutrients causing rapid growth of aquatic plant and bacterial life in a water body is known as 'eutrophication'.

Nutrients are either naturally present in sediments or are washed into water systems. In particular, phosphorus may be stored in significant amounts in sediments and released by normal bacterial activity. External sources of nitrogen and phosphorus are agricultural fertilisers, household products, sewage effluent, and stormwater runoff, all of which can enter receiving waters either directly or during rainfall events. The availability of varying levels of nitrogen and phosphorus can affect which species of blue-green algae dominate and form blooms.

Blooms can form in response to increased temperatures and phosphorus levels even if nitrogen in water remains low, as some bluegreen algae species can obtain nitrogen from the atmosphere.
 
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Meyer Jordan

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Interesting photos Meyer. Lake Erie is having its problems too.

Yes, this problem is growing nation-wide As pond keepers we have first hand experience in dealing with excess algae and know that the only truly effectual means of controlling it is by limiting the nutrients it needs to flourish.
My rant, peeve, cause for anger is the political establishment's reaction to this problem. Any remedy that will negatively affect the bottom line of any member of the business sector, especially large corporations and business groups, is off the table and not a considered solution. Lip service and procrastination is instead offered as a substitute cure.
 

Meyer Jordan

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I wouldn't be so quick to blame farmers for the entire problem. Yes they use fretilizer which does contribute but fertilizer isn't the only reason for the problem. As noted in the responses the problem is far reaching in lakes all over the country as well as all over the world. Phosphates were banned many years ago in laundry detergent but the problem still exists in Lake Erie. Nature plays a roll but nature never gets blamed for problems when man is an easier thing to control. Give me food and let the scientists spend there time figuring out how to grow it with less harmful products instead of spending their time and tax payer money on finding someone to blame.
What are the causes of blue-green algae blooms?
Blue-green algae can reproduce quickly in favourable conditions where there is still or slow-flowing water, abundant sunlight and sufficient levels of nutrients, especially nitrogen and phosphorus. In still conditions, surface water may form a separate warm top layer ('stratification') in which blue-green algae is able to access sunlight and nutrients. If these combined factors are present for several days, algae multiply and form large 'blooms'. The process of excess nutrients causing rapid growth of aquatic plant and bacterial life in a water body is known as 'eutrophication'.

Nutrients are either naturally present in sediments or are washed into water systems. In particular, phosphorus may be stored in significant amounts in sediments and released by normal bacterial activity. External sources of nitrogen and phosphorus are agricultural fertilisers, household products, sewage effluent, and stormwater runoff, all of which can enter receiving waters either directly or during rainfall events. The availability of varying levels of nitrogen and phosphorus can affect which species of blue-green algae dominate and form blooms.

Blooms can form in response to increased temperatures and phosphorus levels even if nitrogen in water remains low, as some bluegreen algae species can obtain nitrogen from the atmosphere.

In regards to the instances of this problem that have so far been mentioned..Florida, Utah and Lake Erie...Human activity is the absolute cause of the problem. Run-off from poorly managed agricultural sites, urban run-off that carries lawn fertilizer, tailings from livestock breeding sites. Nature did not suddenly decide to release high levels of Phosphorus. This is nothing more than a blatant disregard for the consequences and effects of one's actions on the environment and ultimately other individuals
The primary role of government is to provide for the safety and well-being of its citizens...not its commercial ventures.
Failure to do this is plainly nonfeasance. That is apparently what is transpiring as regards this issue and others that will not be mentioned here.
 
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In regards to the instances of this problem that have so far been mentioned..Florida, Utah and Lake Erie...Human activity is the absolute cause of the problem. Run-off from poorly managed agricultural sites, urban run-off that carries lawn fertilizer, tailings from livestock breeding sites. Nature did not suddenly decide to release high levels of Phosphorus. This is nothing more than a blatant disregard for the consequences and effects of one's actions on the environment and ultimately other individuals
The primary role of government is to provide for the safety and well-being of its citizens...not its commercial ventures.
Failure to do this is plainly nonfeasance. That is apparently what is transpiring as regards this issue and others that will not be mentioned here.

Exactly it's not just the farmers, without farmers we all starve.. It's everyone that uses the offending materials. And the offending materials to our environment are not only the items being discussed here. Everyday people cause problems, individuality it is not a problem but collectively it is. No one is willing to live in the stone age and no one is willing to cease what they are doing that is causing a problem. That includes me and I'm fairly sure you. So let the scientists come up with a solution that lets us live our lives without a lot of sacrifice.
 

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