Drain Commish Twing delivers input
Last week our public health friends at District Health Department #10 put out a press release about algae blooms on Ryerson (aka Long) Lake.
“Over the past few years, DHD#10’s jurisdiction has seen a significant rise in the number of algae blooms on our lakes and rivers," said the missive. "This year was an especially bad year, with blooms extending into November that normally would have ended in early October. This is likely a result of hotter summers and falls due to climate change and could also be an effect of prolonged seasonal homes usage around our lakes due to the multiple stay at home orders.”
We asked Newaygo County Drain Commissioner Dale Twing to weigh in about the pesky nuisance known to discolor the shorelines.
“I do believe that we will have more blue green algae blooms in the future," said DC Twing. " There are many contributing factors for this. More extreme weather events are definitely an influence. Septic systems not functioning correctly or too close to lakes definitely are a factor.
“Much of it is an accumulation of bad practices by people in the watershed and particularly around the lakes. This has caused many if not all the lakes to have large amounts of phosphorus settling in their bottoms. This gets released by boat disturbance and the natural turnover of the water in the lakes and results in the blooms.
“The residents still have the most impact on their lakes. Regular pumping of septic tanks and other maintenance on them is important. Discontinuing fertilizer, developing natural buffer strips and not creating golf course-like lawns all the way to the lake would help to improve lake health.
“It always is interesting to me that the riparians are often concerned with their agricultural neighbors and wondering if they are doing best practices such as buffer strips when they don’t do it themselves. The long and short of it is that as we enjoy the lake life we have an impact and the negative impact can be mitigated to a large extent by knowing and using best healthy lake practices.”
DHD#10 wants to remind people to exercise caution while near waterways:
Contact with algae blooms can cause minor illness in humans but can be fatal to pets. Therefore, it is also recommended that people keep their pets out of water that shows any signs of algae blooms.
People and pets can experience the following symptoms after algal bloom exposure:
If you think you’ve been exposed to algal blooms take the following precautions:
For more information, call for DHD#10 Environmental Health Division at 888-217-3904.