Algae are commonly found in Indiana lakes and streams without concern. One specific group however, has been known to produce toxins, which when concentrated, can result in significant environmental impacts and health concerns. This type of algae is known as blue-green algae, or Cyanobacteria.
Algae growth, or ‘blooms’ as they are called, usually occur from May to October, when temperature and water conditions are ideal. Favorable conditions for algae growth include factors such as sunlight, warm water, low turbulence, and nutrient sources – such as phosphorus and nitrogen. Water where algae is present can appear a variety of colors – yellow, brown, red, green, or blue-green. There is no way to tell if an algae bloom is toxic or not just by looking at it.
Impacts of algae:
• Taste and odor issues for public drinking water supplies
• Fish kills
• Sickness or death of animals, including livestock
• Rashes or other dermatological problems resulting from contact
To find out more about Blue-Green Algae, check out these resources:
- Indiana Blue-Green Algae Website
- IUPUI-Center for Earth & Environmental Science Algal Toxicology
Algal counts and warnings posted here
Take the Pledge at Clear Choices Clean Water to reduce the amount of nutrients you could be contributing to algae blooms by using phosphorus free fertilizer on your lawn and reducing the amount and frequency at which you fertilize.