Category Archives: Water Quality

Water quality information including testing by DLWID

Lake Group Sets Sights on Banned Fish

PATRICK ALEXANDER
The News Guard

Chinese grass carp seen as vital in fight against weed

The group charged with improving the quality of water in Devils Lake is hoping to persuade the state that it needs more weed-eating Chinese grass carp to prevent the lake becoming choked with invasive species like it was in the late 1980s.

“You would think that would be pretty simple,” Lake Manager Paul Robertson said, “if grass carp were not illegal.”

The addition of more grass carp is a central strategy in the Devils Lake Water Improvement District’s newly updated Devils Lake Plan, which credits the ravenous creatures with saving the lake from weed in the late ‘80s and boosting lakefront property values in the process. Continue reading

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Filed under DLWID, Grass Carp, Lake Level, Native Re-vegetation, Septic, Water Quality

No Aquatic Hitchhikers Allowed

I was returning from Devils Lake today and much to my surprise I spotted a “Boat Inspection Ahead” sign on the shoulder of I-5 near the Aurora rest area.   The signs encouraged travelers to prepare to pull off at the rest area for a voluntary invasive species inspection.  I was not transporting my boat but being the curious type I pulled off to see what I could learn.

ODFW Employees Ready to Help Locate Aquatic Pests

Waiting for my arrival were two Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife employees who were more than informative.  This boat inspection stop is part of Oregon’s Aquatic Invasive Species program, which kicked off the end of May.  The program has four new mobile inspection teams, which will visit some of the State’s busiest boat ramps this summer to help keep aquatic invasive species out. The Aquatic Invasive Species program is jointly operated by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Oregon State Marine Board.

In addition to appearances at popular boat ramps,  the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife will put up these signs along Oregon highways asking boat-towers to stop for a voluntary inspection. There are no penalties for not stopping or not having a boat inspected. Nor are there penalties if invasive species (quagga or zebra mussels, New Zealand mud snails, Eurasian milfoil or other plants, etc.) are discovered during the inspection. The boat, however, must be cleaned by a decontamination team before it can launch in state waters. Continue reading

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SolarBees have mixed effect on water quality at Blue Lake

By Matthew Preusch, The Oregonian

May 14, 2010, 7:33PM

Water clarity has improved at Blue Lake three years after Metro spent tens of thousands of dollars on algae-combating machines, but the devices may be abetting the spread of troublesome weeds.

“What we’ve found is that the pH has been a little bit worse, the water clarity has been a little bit better, and the toxic-algae problem has been about the same,” said Metro biologist Elaine Stewart.

The regional government and the solar-powered devices’ manufacturer say, however, that it’s still too early to render a verdict on whether the money was well spent.

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Matthew Preusch/The OregonianIn 2007, Metro and homeowners on Blue Lake invested in three SolarBee water mixers to try to combat blooms of blue-green algae at the lake east of Portland. The solar-powered machines churn the lake water to limit algae growth.

Metro manages the popular 130-acre park on the lake’s north shore and cooperates with homeowners on the south shore over lake regulations. It split the $150,000 cost for the three SolarBee water circulation devices with the homeowners Continue reading

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Filed under Algae Bloom, Invasives, Performance, Scientific Study, Solarbees, Solarbees, Water Quality

Algae woes trigger action against EPA

By PEGGY MCALOON
For The Dunn County News

Concerns about the effects of toxic blue green algae have caused a number of clean water advocacy groups — mostly from Wisconsin — to file a civil action against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

According to the notice letter to the EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, “Every summer, Wisconsin communities and tourism-related businesses cope with the detrimental effects of nutrient pollution, ranging from foul, smelly water to health threats, such as toxic algae and contaminated drinking water, and from nuisance algae blooms to fish kills and beach closures. Due to increasing nutrient concentrations in Wisconsin’s waters, the frequency and duration of toxic algal blooms has severely increased over the past decade.”

Under the Clean Water Act (CWA), a special provision allows citizens to file a civil action in federal court for failure of the administrator of the EPA to perform duties imposed by the act. Continue reading

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Recreational Exposure to Freshwater Cyanobacteria

The School of Population Health, The University of Queensland undertook a study of the Recreational Exposure to Freshwater Cyanobacteria. The aim of this project was to enhance the understanding of public health issues relating to recreational exposure to cyanobacteria by conducting epidemiological and laboratory-based toxicology studies.  The study produced 418 pages of detailed information.

A prospective cohort study of 1,331 recreational water users was conducted at various sites in southern Queensland, the Myall Lakes area of New South Wales, and central Florida. The study design sought to make improvements over previously published epidemiological studies, in that an unexposed group was recruited from cyanobacteria-free waters, cyanobacterial toxins were measured in site water samples, and respondents were asked to rate the severity of reported symptoms. This study has shown an increased likelihood of symptom reporting amongst bathers exposed to high cyanobacterial cell density (measured by total cell surface area) compared to those exposed to low cyanobacteria-affected waters. Mild respiratory symptoms appear to be the predominant symptom category.

This is a very comprehensive study you can review the entire document at http://espace.library.uq.edu.au/eserv/UQ:9880/is_thesis_mar06.pdf

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Legislation Introduced to Combat Harmful Algal Blooms

Senator Russ Feingold cosponsored legislation to investigate ways to curb harmful blue-green algal blooms. The legislation, entitled the Harmful Algal Blooms and Hypoxia Research and Control Amendments Act of 2009 (S. 952), was introduced by Senator Olympia Snowe and would provide competitive grants to groups to research the problem and come up with solutions.  Read the full text of the bill.

On the House side Representative Brian Baird introduced October 7, 2009 the H.R.3650 which has provision impacting the studies in to be performed in the Pacific Northwest.  Read the full text of the bill.

Bill Summary S.952

Harmful Algal Blooms and Hypoxia Research and Control Amendments Act of 2009 – Amends the Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Act of 1998 to require the Secretary of Commerce, acting through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), to establish criteria for determining which states should serve on the Inter-Agency Task Force on Harmful Algal Blooms and Hypoxia and to implement a nominations process to select representatives for such Task Force. Continue reading

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EPA, Florida Agree to Limit Fertilizer, Animal Waste in State Waters

TALLAHASSEE, Florida, November 17, 2009 (ENS) – In a decision with national relevance, a federal judge in Tallahassee Monday approved a consent decree that requires the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to set legal limits on excess nutrients that trigger harmful algae blooms in Florida waters.

The EPA agreed to establish numeric water quality criteria for Florida’ lakes and flowing waters by January 14, 2010. The agency has until January 14, 2011, to establish numeric water quality criteria for Florida’s coastal and estuarine waters. The consent decree allows the state to set numeric criteria before these dates as long as they are approved by the EPA.

This green slime on Christopher Point Creek, a St. Johns River tributary, is an algae bloom fueled by excess nutrients. (Photo by Chris Williams courtesy GreenWater Laboratories/CyanoLab)

The ruling comes in response to a lawsuit brought by five environmental groups seeking to compel the federal government to set water quality standards for nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus in public waters.

In July 2008, the public interest law firm Earthjustice filed suit on behalf of the Florida Wildlife Federation, the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, the Environmental Confederation of Southwest Florida, St. John’s Riverkeeper, and the Sierra Club.

The suit challenged an unacceptable decade-long delay by the state and federal governments in setting limits for nutrient pollution.

Speaking from the bench Monday after hearing oral arguments in the case, U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle said the delay was a matter of serious concern.

In August, the U.S. EPA signed a consent decree, agreeing to set legal limits for nutrients in Florida waters.

But Florida Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bronson and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services filed a motion to intervene in the case on the polluters’ side.

In his approval of the consent decree, Judge Hinkle rejected the arguments made by polluters who sought to delay cleanup and get out of complying with the Clean Water Act. Continue reading

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Filed under Algae Bloom, Cyano Information, Water Quality