It is a lock that places all across the USA and beyond will in 2017 once again be dealing with the harsh effects of Harmful Algae Blooms (HAB). But, with the many distractions available to the masses at any point in time — be they of sustenance or recreation — it is likely that only the minority of people in the throes of clean water pollution will be taking serious note.
Interesting challenges in Iowa reflect those elsewhere:
IOWA: The Des Moines Water Works suit cites data collected by the Iowa Nutrient Research Center – established by the Iowa Legislature in 2013 – that indicates 92 percent of nitrates and 80 percent of phosphorus entering Iowa streams originates from farms.
USA: A 2013 Livescience report indicated that 59 percent of monitored U.S. waterways were contaminated to the point that these waterways were not safe for recreation, drinking or for consumption of their fish. Two decades earlier 36 percent of the monitored waterways were deemed contaminated.
And so it goes. Agriculture given parameters seemingly too wide for responsible land management. Communities who rely on fresh water for recreation and, more importantly, drinking water, continuing to suffer. Fingers pointed. Studies done. Leadership inaction. Political push-back.
If weather holds true to form, in Iowa 2017 will be a year to watch. Any progress in reducing HABs there will be huge … and surprising. The same might be said for at-risk areas throughout the USA.
Blue-green algae are, by a general definition, also known as Harmful Algae Blooms (HAB). The planet is getting more HAB activity every year, according to science reports from across the globe – as illustrated in commentaries from the USA and China.
Nobody is arguing that these blooms are toxic. Disastrous, even, when areas such as Florida’s Gold Coast are affected.
HABs, everywhere, need to be reduced and where possible eliminated. But, in many cases, HABs can and will occur every year.
” … the utilization of blue-greens in food production and in solar energy conversion may hold immense potential for the future, and could be exploited for man’s economy.”
One can only hope that the initiatives to aggressively harvest HABs swiftly take hold. Left unchecked, and unused for any socioeconomic gain, HABs are more than a nuisance. They are a threat to the food chain on which, ironically, algae are the very foundation.
Searching through articles post-Hurricane Matthew has yielded a host of concerns for the entire Eastern USA Seaboard – the area that was pummeled by the storm last week. Since much of what we have discussed regarding Harmful Algae Blooms (HABs) has focused on Southeast FL in general, and Lake Okeechobee (Lake O) in particular, let’s keep the conversation there for today.
And it is a messy matter, indeed.
Evergladeshub.com is a superb resource for all things Lake O and, truly, the issues facing Southeast Florida. As always, at the very foundation of HABs rests an overabundance of phosphorus.
What will be done is this: to keep Lake O from flooding surrounding areas – which is always a distinct possibility, whenever the lake rises to 15 feet or so — nearly 2 billion gallons of water per day will be drained. With no set timetable for ending. It depends on how much rain continues to fall. And how dry the upcoming dry season of October, November and December really is.
All that said, for perspective, an area as large as roughly 1800 football fields, with 10′ deep water, would hold close to 2 billion gallons.
HABs in Southeast Florida will again make their presence known in 2017. And excessive phosphorus is the reason.