Experts Say It’s Time to Get The Facts and Take Action Against Algal Bloom
WESTMINSTER, Colorado – October 16, 2017 – Scummy, smelly masses of algae have become commonplace on bodies of water across the U.S. And no community is immune. That’s why experts from the Weed Science Society of America (WSSA) say it’s time to get the facts and take action against algal bloom.
A new fact sheet produced by the Society provides background on algal blooms, why they develop, their impact and what each of us can do to help.
“The risks of doing nothing are simply too great,” says John Rodgers, Ph.D., a member of WSSA and president of the Aquatic Plant Management Society. “Algal blooms can degrade drinking water and can be toxic to humans, pets, birds and other wildlife. They also can create a costly economic drain on recreation, tourism, fisheries, agriculture and many other industries.”
Here are a few highlights from the new WSSA fact sheet:
Background on Algal Blooms
- An algal bloom is an overgrowth of algae in water.
- A complex mix of factors can cause an algal bloom – from stagnant water and warm temperatures to fertilizer runoff from crop fields and lawns.
- In South Florida, officials estimate that $22 million a year is spent on medical care associated with exposure to harmful algal blooms.
- An algal bloom in Lake Erie left more than 400,000 people in Ohio and parts of Michigan without clean drinking water.
- It is important for communities to monitor bodies of water for new blooms so affected areas can be treated while they are small and more readily manageable.
- Site-specific action plans should be developed before a problem develops so quick action can be taken to mitigate risks.
- Commonsense precautions can keep algae from being inadvertently spread to new locations, including careful inspection and washing of boats and trailers, canoes, kayaks, jet skis, bait buckets and other water sports equipment.
The full fact sheet “Get the Facts & Take Action Against Algal Bloom” is available online at https://wssa.net/wssa/weed/wssa-fact-sheets.
About the Weed Science Society of America
The Weed Science Society of America, a nonprofit scientific society, was founded in 1956 to encourage and promote the development of knowledge concerning weeds and their impact on the environment. The Society promotes research, education and extension outreach activities related to weeds, provides science-based information to the public and policy makers, fosters awareness of weeds and their impact on managed and natural ecosystems, and promotes cooperation among weed science organizations across the nation and around the world. For more information, visit www.wssa.net.
Lee Van Wychen
Science Policy Director
National & Regional Weed Science Societies