Algae blooms are common in the overall algal community. Although we cannot eliminate algae from a lake or pond, what we try to do is control the overall intensity and the frequency of the blooms. Since the water temperature is beyond our control, the best thing we can do is to reduce the amount of nutrients getting into the lake or pond. Each pond found at a city park is designed to protect downstream properties by limiting the effects of flash flooding; therefore, these bodies of water are built for safety rather than for aesthetics. Each time it rains, water runs off of lawns and streets and into the storm sewer system. The storm sewer system then transports the water to these ponds where it is detained and slowly released through an opening in its dam to prevent downstream flooding. The runoff that comes from lawns and streets takes with it all of the fertilizers, insecticides, leaked vehicular fluids, automotive detergents, pet waste, etc. and deposits it all in the pond. These ingredients are what cause the algae to bloom. The higher the pollutant level coming from the surrounding neighborhood, the higher the levels of algae will be. However, once a heavy rain comes through again, these algae will be forced downstream, eliminating the problem until the cycle begins again.
Call to Action: What can you do to help?
Pick up after your pets
Wash your vehicle at a car wash
Repair or collect and dispose of any leaking vehicular fluids
Follow all labels on fertilizers and pesticides and never use before a rain event
By reducing the amount of ingredients (mainly phosphorous and nitrogen) making their way into the pond, which is needed for algae to thrive, you can help reduce the intensity of the algae found in your neighborhood ponds.
Check back later for more information and resources!