Excessive algae blooms are a sign that your lake is already sick


Excessive algae blooms

The Problem

Algae blooms are fueled by excessive nutrients in the water column. These nutrients may be due to new inflows – agricultural runoff, septic or wastewater discharges, decomposing leaves every fall, or the in-lake nutrient stockpiles that have built up over many years in the sediments.

The algae dies off in winter and falls to the bottom and decomposes to form organic nutrient rich muck again.

So nutrient recycling acts to fuel annual algae blooms.

How To Make It Worse

The most popular way to make things worse is to use chemicals – either algaecides or phosphorus precipitants.

» Algaecides

Algaecides quickly kill algae so that the dead algae fall to the bottom to decompose and perpetuate the nutrient recycling.

» Chemical Treatments

Such as alum that clear the water and precipitate phosphorus down into the sediment to perpetuate  nutrient recycling.

How To Make It Better

Excessive algae bloomsThe only way to effectively address the problem of nutrient recycling that promotes annual algae blooms is to withstand the temptation to go for symptomatic chemical treatments and rather address the root causes in a systemic manner. This means depriving the algae of nutrients, promoting nutrient uptake by a productive food chain so that the nutrient-rich sediment stockpiles can be worked off and depleted.

In order to do this, you must:

  1. Oxygenate the whole water column. This has two key impacts
    • It decreases the amount of dissolved phosphorus in the water column by precipitating it to the bottom
    • It eliminates anaerobic conditions in the water column so that oxygen breathing creatures that could not previously survive in these zones can expand their environment to include them, so that they can compete with the algae for nutrients
  2. Oxygenate the upper sediment layers so that nutrients can be mobilized to nourish oxygen breathing organisms. These are the organisms that form the base foundations of a productive food chain, at the summit of which are fish. Fish are preyed upon by a variety of birds and animals and this is the route by which nutrients are ultimately removed from the lake.
  3. In order to mobilize nutrients from the sediment stockpile sophisticated biotechnology support is required to stimulate the re-establishment of a sustainable productive food chain.

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