Archive for the ‘Blue Green Algae’ Category

Put-In Bay – an all inclusive day on the Lake!

Friday, September 13th, 2013

Put-In-Bay

A Day on the Lake
September 20, 2013

2013 Bus trip Brochure

This is a very fun and educational bus trip to Put-in-Bay, where we will be treated to a tour of the newly-remodeled Ohio State University Water Quality Lab. After the tour we will then board the research vessels for an informative, hands-on cruise of Lake Erie. You will also have the opportunity to explore and enjoy lunch on the island.
This is an opportunity for Ag Retailers, Producers and concerned Citizens to learn about the ongoing research at OSU’s Stone Lab. These
programs & projects are helping to identify the causes of the harmful algal blooms and invasive species in Lake Erie. Phosphorus fertilizer is the limiting factor in the proliferation of the algae

$20 / person
Please send check to :
Allen SWCD
3718 New Vision Drive
Fort Wayne, IN 46845
Contact us:
260-484-5848 ext. 3
Or
Email us at Krista.Voors@IN.nacdnet.net

6:15 AM Board Bus at Meijer
10301 SR 37, Ft. Wayne,IN 46835
* Juice and rolls served *
6:30 AM Bus departs from Meijer
9:30 AM Depart Catawba Island via Miller Ferry to Put-In-Bay
5174 E. Water St., Port Clinton, OH 43452
10:00 AM Island Transport to Aquatic Visitor’s Center
* Snack served *
11:15 PM Science Cruise / Island Tour
12:30 PM Lunch
1:45 PM Science Cruise / IslandTour
3:30 PM Miller Ferry to Catawba
4:15 PM Bus departs from Catawba
6:30 PM Return to Meijer
(IN SR37 & I-469)
Lunch and morning
snack provided.
*Agenda is subject to change*

 

Rivers Causing Illness to Recreationists

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

Hello All,

I spoke to Julie Horney today and she gave me a different perspective about our efforts.  Julie became ill with Hepatitis, Thrombocytopenia,  hepatomegaly (eventually causing Anemia) – probably due to E. coli – within 24 hours of her contact with our rivers.  There needs to be a face that represents the problems we face with our river conditions…enough to cause illness! Her contact with the water is causing her weakness and sickness months later, and still to this day ~ no medication to help, only living through the illness she contracted due to contact with our local waterways!  So who is is the responsible party for her illnesses? City? County? DNR? Julie wants postings at all entry points to waterways; as to the hazards of using the waterways for recreation.  I wanted to share her story with you.  ALL of us need to be aware of the dangers of our local waterways!  If you think that our rivers in Indiana are disgusting, your natural resources are being robbed from you.  Thank you for reading her story!   ~ Abby

 

Baby don’t fear the . . . cyanobacteria!

 Julie Horney on her voyage the day she became sick

 If the “wind, the summer, the rain” were present that fateful Tuesday evening like it is in the famous rock-n-roll song from the 70s, well then I might not be sick right now! Let me explain:

 October 11th was a beautiful Fall evening for the Fort Wayne kayaking group to enjoy the Cedarville Reservoir.  The Reservoir is in Leo, Indiana and north of the dam that divides the St. Joe River as it flows south to Fort Wayne.  My last paddle in the Reservoir was over a year ago in the middle of the summer.  About 2 miles north of the dam is the Leo boat launch from which my husband often completes his race practices.  The group launched at the same place that night, headed southwest instead of north, in water that looked as murky as it always did.  We noted nothing unusual, that is, no scum or smell, except maybe it was a little greener.

 Greener, indeed!  We ended the evening with our usual homemade cookies from one of our older regulars, chatted a bit, loaded up, and headed home.  By morning, I was feeling ill!  Within a day I was doubled over in pain, sick with diarrhea, fighting a headache and concerned I might have caught the flu.  Fortunately I was able to see my doctor on Thursday. who suspected otherwise.  The nausea medication gave some relief but the pain persisted and my breathing had become shallow periodically over the next 12 hours.  My doctor saw me immediately after I called his office on Friday, ordered some tests and my husband Steve and I were off to the emergency room for more tests and treatment.  I had become dehydrated and no one knew for sure what was going on.

I was crying out to the Lord for relief.  IV pain medications and nausea medications began to manage the symptoms.  The nurse practitioner suspected viral hepatitis and I was discharged home.  Thrombocytopenia and hepatomegaly were later added to the medical record.  I learned later that for the hepatotoxicity which caused the hepatitis, “supportive therapy” is all that is recommended:  defined as emergency life support in its various forms if needed.  Gratefully, I did not need that!  But a few days went by and I couldn’t eat much, nausea and new symptoms settled in, and I just wasn’t convinced I was getting any better.  Steve suggested I try to find a special diet or something that could help me.  He was right.

Thank God for the internet!  Google and Google Scholar became my constant companions.  I propped myself up in front of the computer in between naps and began searching for answers.  By this point I had become suspicious of the water in the Reservoir and looked for whatever data I could find on the Fort Wayne Rivers, Indiana water quality reports, etc.  Then I found it.  In the middle of a 2005 report on Indiana Lakes and Reservoirs was a chart of Cyanobacteria toxins, organisms, acute effects mechanisms of action, and signs and symptoms of intoxication.  I found a list of the exact symptoms I had experienced.  In the “Therapy” column was a note, “Not well investigated.”

There must be more information somewhere.  Cyanobacteria is also known as blue-green algae.  According to the Centers for Disease Control, it “grows in any type of water and are photosynthetic (use sunlight to create food and support life).  Cyanobacteria live in terrestrial, fresh, brackish, or marine water.  They are usually too small to be seen, but sometimes can form visible colonies, called an algal bloom” (p. 1, from www.cdc.gov/hab/cyanobacteria/facts.htm).  The blooms can be bright green, brown, red, or may not affect the appearance of the water at all.  “As the algae in a cyanobacterail bloom die, the water may smell bad” (p. 1).  The organisms are commonly present in the water in the early Spring and early Fall.  Given the mild Fall we were having, the slow current of the St. Joe, and absence of a recent rainfall, I wonder if we were still in the “early Fall” conditions right for cyanobacteria.  We were paddling in partly shallow waters, perhaps warmed by the sun.

 

 Briefly for paddlers, we can be exposed to the chemical substances that cause a toxic effect by:

  • Drinking water from a lake or reservoir with CyanoHB (the type that threatens people and animals), including accidentally swallowing the water
  • Drinking untreated water
  • Engaging in recreational activities in waters with CyanoHB
  • Inhaling aerosols from water-related activities (jet-skiing or boating)
  • Inhaling aerosols when using the water around the home
  • Entering through a person’s skin who has a cut or open sore

 

Symptoms of infection vary with the specific parasite ingested and can take hours or days to show up in people or animals.  Although I had an acute condition, I wondered where I could find information on any research-based alternative medicine or dietary approaches to hepatitis.  The American Liver Foundation had the best, most balanced information so I changed my diet immediately.  I started getting another measure better.  Since I am not an expert, I won’t go into the details of some other measures that are helping.  Gratefully, a local pharmacist at a compounding pharmacy was willing to do some research and instructed me on which supplements to stop that I had been taking (to reduce the load on my liver).  He and his colleague also made a few recommendations of two supplements to add based upon the limited research available.

At the time of this writing, I continue to improve daily.  My doctor discontinued the body fluid precautions when my lab work showed improvement, easing things around the home.  My endurance and respiratory capacity are reduced yet improving.  Since I work in health care, we will be cautious before releasing me to return to work.  It is now too cold for this recreational paddler to consider getting back into the water anyways.   I will have lots to think about this winter before returning to kayaking next year.

 

For example, I am not sure the exact mode that led to my exposure to cyanobacter and specifically cylindrospermopsin.  A winged paddle increases splashing and a paddler gets wet as water flies through the air.  Four of us kayaked with winged/racing paddles that evening and none of them, nor anyone else in the group, got sick.  I had just purchased a beginner surf ski and was sitting in water for most of the paddle, soaking my skin with the possibly infected waters.  Also, my water bottle did not have a tight seal around the mouthpiece and I tried to carefully extract a snack from its packaging with my (albeit wet) paddling gloves.  Evidently, too many possibilities for exposure and I got sick.

 dead-cow.jpg

 The reason I am writing this article is to share with you the following precautions direct from the CDC (p. 2):

  • Don’t swim, water ski, or boat in areas where the water is discolored or where you see foam, scum, or mats of algae on the water.
  • If you do swim in water that might have a CyanoHAB, rinse off with fresh water as soon as possible.  (This includes an accidental spill!)
  • Don’t let pets or livestock swim in or drink from areas where the water is discolored or where you see foam, scum, or mats of algae on the water.
  • If pets (especially dogs) swim in scummy water, rinse them off immediately – do not let them lick the algae (and toxins) off their fur.
  • Don’t irrigate lawns (or gardens) . . . with pond water that looks scummy or smells bad.
  • Report any “musty” smell or taste in your drinking water to your local water utility.
  • Respect any water-body closures announced by local public health authorities (as I had witnessed many times along the Chicago shoreline when I lived in Illinois).

 Mary Jane Slaton of the Fort Wayne City Utilities adds that, after exposure to potentially infested waters, a person should use hand sanitizer before eating.

(Personal communication 10/25/2011). 

 Most importantly, remove yourself from the exposure and get medical attention right away if you think that you or your pet has been poisoned by cyanobacterial toxins.  In the words of Ms. Slayton, “rivers (in particular) are natural water bodies.  They sometimes have things (in them) that affect people’s health” (ibid).

While I agree, I also feel a responsibility to educate others more specifically on what to look for, what to do, and what not to do.  It’s like the universal precautions we use in healthcare settings.  Good hand washing prevents the spread of disease.  I guess that now extends to our paddling equipment as well.

~Julie Horney

 

HEC’s Environmental Policy for Waterways in 2011

Sunday, January 2nd, 2011

Hoosier Environmental Council 2011-2012 Legislative Policy Guide

http://www.hecweb.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/2011LegGuide10-3.pdf

According to the 2010 Impaired Waters List, Indiana has more than 2,600 impaired waters that are unsafe for drinking and recreation.

The following is a summary of information presented in the guide regarding water issues:

Issue 1) Restriction unnecessary use of phosphorus in lawn fertilizers on turf grass unless it is TRULY needed.  This is the first issue discussed because lawn fertilizer has been linked to “dead zones” in Lake Erie, where over 50% of our fish from the Great Lakes come from! (pg 4)

Issue 2) The Clean Water Act’s Anti-Degradation Policy was adopted by the Indiana General Assembly, but IDEM’s proposed rules do not meet this standard and must be improved.  Too many exemptions allow companies to avoid justifying their new or increased discharges.  There are several weaknesses in proposed rule so it needs to be strengthened. (pg 4)

Issue 3) Confined Feeding Animal Operations (CAFO’s) in Indiana number over 3,000.  At 80% of these operations; hogs and dairy cows are confined by the thousands or chickens are raised by tens of thousands at a single facility.   These large scale operations lead to public health disasters like fish kills, and Salmonella tainted eggs, blue-green algae blooms. The waste from these animals contain pathogens and medications that contaminate our waterways as well as food crops.  Traditionally, animal waste is used to fertilize crops but at this magnitude land application is dictated by the need to get rid of the waste rather than necessary fertilizer.  HEC believes that little is being done to effectively regulate the industry.
(pg 5)

Issue 4) Financial Assurance to Indiana Taxpayers. One example happened in 2009 – in Muncie, Indiana.  4-5 million gallons of manure was released and the State of Indiana paid the clean up cost associated with the defunct hog farm.  The primary purpose is to ensure that funds will be available to protect human health and the environment in the event that the facility owners of operators are unable or fail to do so. (pg 5)

Indiana Hog Farm: www.indianaenvironmentallaw.com

SUSTAINABLE agriculture builds food and fiber production systems that are both economically viable and protect or enhance the environmental quality of the agricultural lands.  It also increases the quality of life for farmers and those people that live in the area surrounding the farms. (pg 5)

Top Shoreline/Streambank Tips

Monday, December 20th, 2010

1. Grow a Greenbelt: Establish a greenbelt or expand an existing one by adding more native plants.  Encourage your neighbors to do the same.  Buffers are helpful when it comes to water quality!

2. Fertilizer Smart: If you fertilize, refrain from fertilizing within 30′ of a shoreline/ditch/stream. DEFINITELY use no-phosphorus fertilizer.

3. Leave Trees: If a tree falls into the water leave it! They provide great habitat and contribute to the important carbon budget of the ecosystem.

4. Maintain Septic Systems: Failing septic systems can leach nutrients, which cause nuisance algae and plant growth.

5. Control Erosion: Stabilize shoreline erosion with bioengineering methods best management practices.

6. Join Forces: Support your local lake or river associations; they implement important resources protection projects and programs…like Save Maumee!

7. Stow Away: Store boats, boat hoists, docks and other equipment away from the shoreline; they can harm shoreline plants and compact soils.  Work on these machines and engines AWAY from the water to reduce leaks and spills.

8. Flow Away: Stormwater from driveways, roof tops, and other surfaces carries harmful pollutants.  Direct stormwater away from the street grates and allow it to infiltrate into the ground. (i.e. raingardens, rainbarrels, porous cement, wash car on lawn instead of driveway etc.)

9. Appreciate Aquatic Plants: Nearshore aquatic plants (growing in the water) are an important part of the lake and river ecosystems.  They offer valuable habitat and buffer wave energy.  See here for details: http://blog.savemaumee.org/2010/11/22/how-does-planting-trees-and-grasses-help/

10. Know the Law: Familiarize yourself with local, state, and federal regulations.  Permits are needed for some shoreline activities; be aware if any of your future plans require one.  Also, check to see if your county/municipality has a greenbelt ordinance.

11. When in Doubt? Call it Out: Hold government and corporation entities responsible!  Take a picture of laws that appear to be broken.  Send it to us! abby@savemaumee.org OR CALL Katie Englin at IDEM complaint hotline for immediate remediation: 317-232-4464

How does planting trees and grasses help?

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

Example of trees & grasses to help your waterways!

  •      Siltation/erosion/sedimentation is the #1 pollutant in our watershed.  The grasses will help to settle out suspended sediment in the water to help hold down the soil that could be washed away because there is nothing to hold down the barren soil when the water comes rushing down during a rain event.

 

  •      Grasses filtrate sediment by holding water for a longer period of time so the sediment settles to the bottom instead of traveling downstream. 

 

  •     Removal of nutrients from the water before it passes downstream. 

 

  •       Plants produce enzymes which will absorb and “eat” bacteria

 

  •       Natural removal of chemical pollutants like fertilizers and waste materials removes nitrogen, phosphorous and toxins from surface water.

 

  •       Creating more shade will help to create Dissolved Oxygen that is needed in the water for fish and other wildlife to “breathe.”

 

  •       Floods problems can be alleviated – grassy knolls and trees can capture, store and slowly release water over a longer period of time

 

  •       Protect shorelines through reduction of destructive energy from fast moving/ rising water

 

  •       Alleviate pools of standing, stagnant water so West Nile will not have the opportunity to be passed on in the mosquito or human population

 

 

“87% of wetlands in Indiana no longer exist. Most of the forested river corridors in Allen County have been removed.  Water quality, stormwater drainage and sewage issues recognize no political boundaries and need regional coordination.” (Plan-It-Allen, 2007) So you will be aiding in replenishing wetland species right here!  Streambank stabilization projects are currently receiving 0 dollars in Indiana. (Soil & Water, 2008)  Please invest in Natural Capital!

 

Interesting Find of the Day

Saturday, July 3rd, 2010

http://greatlakesecho.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/lakeerie1.jpg

I had Sandy Bihn from the Western Lake Erie Basin call and ask me what was happening upstream, “There are major problems in Western Lake Erie, we are having algae blooms comparable to the early 1980’s [just after the Clean Water Act became enforceable law].  Maumee Bay in this area is the outlet to the Maumee.

If you are interested in visiting this area, ask questions and see for yourself; the tour is  September 4th – Maumee Bay Tour – take a bus to Toledo, Ohio’s Maumee Bay and find out about the sediment load being deposited and removed from your waterways – call Jason Roehrig for interest or reservations (419) 782-8751

Greg Konger recommend I read the college textbook, “Living in the Environment/Fourteenth Edition” by G. Tyler Miller, Jr.  It explains our environmental condition clearly with an attention to details. In this book, it states the harmful affects of artificial light.

Here is the exerpt:

“Wesley College professor Marianne Moore and her colleagues have found evidence that artificial illumination can alter aquatic ecosystems and could ultimately decrease water quality. Minute zooplankton avoid predators by remaining well below the surface during the day and then rising to graze on algae at night. But artificial light from urban glows can discourage their nightly surface feeding. If their grazing is inhibited, algae populations could explode and these blooms would deplete dissolved oxygen needed by fish and decrease water quality.”