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Toxic Algae: Coming Soon to a Lake Near You? New Online Map & Report from NWF Show National Reach of Freshwater Toxic Algae Scourge
Date:9/26/2013

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  •     New York State led the US, with warnings issued at 50 different lakes and ponds.
  •     For the first time, Kentucky officials found toxic algae at four lakes, which collectively draw more than 5 million visitors a year. Some visitors to the lakes complained of rashes and intestinal problems.
  •     Western Lake Erie continues to experience a resurgence of toxic algal blooms, leading to health advisories and “do not drink” orders being issued by the state of Ohio. In contrast, the state of Michigan, which shares some of the same waters but does not currently have a formal monitoring or advisory program, issued no health advisories during that same time period.
  •     In southeast Florida, a massive toxic algae outbreak covered St. Lucie River and Indian River Lagoon with fluorescent green slime this summer, prompting warnings from health officials to not touch the water. Scores of dolphins, manatees, birds and fish have died.
  • “No one wants a green, sick lake,” said Andy Buchsbaum, regional executive director, National Wildlife Federation’s Great Lakes Regional Center. “And yet that’s what communities across the country are facing. Excessive runoff is feeding an explosion of toxic algae that is choking our waters, closing our beaches, and posing a threat to people, pets, and wildlife. This is a national problem that demands a national solution.”

    Heavy rains this spring and summer increased the volume of chemical fertilizer and manure from crops and livestock operations entering waterways across the US. Scientists caution that these conditions, plus record-high summer temperatures, contribute to the spread of toxic algae and associated lake closures. Cyanobacteria, also called blue-green algae, can produce liver and nerve toxins that make people and pets sick, and even kill dogs. In addition to public health threats,
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