Algae Blooms in Ohio River (Kentucky) and James River (Virginia)

by admin on October 18, 2019

Extreme case of toxic algae bloom in Ohio River

Drought Driving Toxic Algal Blooms Along Ohio River

From an Article by Ryan Van Velzer, WFPL-Radio, Louisville, September 30, 2019

Drought-like conditions across the Ohio Valley are producing toxic blue-green algal blooms in patches along the Ohio River stretching from Louisville to West Virginia.

The algal blooms are growing sporadically throughout a 300-mile-long stretch of the river, often appearing as green, paint-like scum on the water’s surface. The public is warned to stay out of the algae wherever it is found and make sure pets stay out also.

Blue-green algae can produce a toxin known as microcystin that’s harmful to the liver. When ingested or touched, the toxin can cause stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, numbness and other health effects. Pets are particularly vulnerable.

Researchers observed the highest concentrations of the algae in the river near downtown Cincinnati. The sample was about 125 times higher than the 8 microgram-per-liter advisory threshold in Kentucky.


Large algae blooms are spreading in the James River — Blame the drought

From an Article by Sarah Vogelsong, Virginia Mercury News, October 16, 2019

The largest blooms of algae detected in the James in several years are spreading as a lack of precipitation and higher-than-normal temperatures combine to produce ideal conditions for the organisms.

“Typically the biggest blooms are in July and August,” said Paul Bukaveckas, an ecologist with Virginia Commonwealth University. “Whereas here we saw the bloom expanding through September and continuing to grow.”

That pattern is out of the ordinary for a region where September usually ushers in cooler temperatures and several inches of rain. But it may become more common as climate change drives temperatures upward and makes weather more erratic.

“Higher temperatures and less consistent precipitation patterns driven by climate change are making extreme weather like droughts more prevalent around the world, and Virginia is no exception,” Secretary of Natural Resources Matthew J. Strickler said in a drought watch advisory issued by Gov. Ralph Northam on October 11th.

Water samples from rivers in Virginia


Tell Pennsylvania Governor Wolf That You Want a Cleaner Susquehanna River!

From the Environmental Integrity Project, October 17, 2019

The Environmental Integrity Project has teamed up with the Lower Susquehanna Riverkeeper to pressure Pennsylvania to clean up the Susquehanna River. We aim for everyone to once again enjoy swimming, fishing, kayaking, and other recreation in this special waterway that is the largest source of both fresh water and pollution in the Chesapeake Bay.

Please consider signing our petition that calls on Governor Tom Wolf to make the restoration of the Susquehanna his legacy. Specifically, we ask the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to create a final sewage consent decree for the Harrisburg region that achieves the following goals:

>>> Elimination of the deliberate piping of raw human waste into the Susquehanna River;

>>> More substantial upgrades to Harrisburg’s antiquated and leaky combined sewage and stormwater system than have been proposed so far;

>>> A firm deadline for an end to the current practice of sewage dumping in the state capital; and

>>> Opportunities for members of the public to voice their concerns.

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