Algae blooms are becoming a common problem in many of our lakes and rivers. Climate change, warming water temperatures, low water levels and flow, eutrophication, phosphorus from fertilizers, soaps, and detergents; and pollution from untreated, undertreated and treated effluent from waste water treatment facilities into our watersheds, all contribute to its increasing growth and prevalence.
A natural and common form of algae is called Cladophora, and you can often smell it before you see it because it floats into shorelines and begins to decay and rot.
Cladophora are green algae that thrive on phosphorus and other nutrients in the lake or river water. This form of algae reaches peak growth from May to July, on the bottom along the shorelines and shallow water.
When the water temperature rises, the algae begin to die and loosen from the bottom. Strong winds and waves detach large quantities that become floating masses that can lodge on shore and begin to decay. The decaying algae cause the unpleasant odour.
Cladophora is not harmful to your health, althought the decaying algae can cause a very unpleasant odour and can form large floating deposits along our shorelines. The rotting algae also adds to the nutrient levels in the lake, which only perpetuates the cycle. Continue reading