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MedicDan

Little Rock- St. Cloud Times

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MedicDan

Just thought I would post this-

Lake suffers another algae-based blow as toxins kill fish

By Jami Marquardt, St. Cloud Times

Published: July 29. 2007 12:30AM

RICE — One more thing can be added to the combination of blue-green goo and rotten-egg smell at Little Rock Lake to make an altogether unpleasant situation — dead fish.

Phyllis Post, who has lived on the lake for three years, said about 60 dead fish popped up Friday.

And within 24 hours, that number had increased to hundreds.

"It's crappies, walleye and bass — not just the icky fish," she said.

When she looks out over the lake, the white spots aren't whitecaps. They're fish bellies.

"It's a sad situation," she said.

She said there were previously some dead fish floating in the bays, but Friday marked a huge increase.

Post bought a cabin on the lake in 1997, a few residences down from where she now lives year-round on the south end of the lake.

She said she has never seen the lake so bad.

But she said she is still a strong advocate for the lake — she has spent summers swimming there with her grandchildren.

"It's our home and we're hoping something can be done about it," she said.

Benton County was informed Friday by Minnesota Pollution Control Agency officials that air quality testing showed elevated levels of hydrogen sulfide gas near the lake.

The gas is emitted by decaying algae, producing a rotten-egg smell.

State officials said hydrogen sulfide can be harmful to people with asthma or other respiratory conditions, and those people should avoid exposure to the gas if possible.

Original reports of toxicity came in Wednesday.

The toxic algae called microcystin was found at levels considered dangerous — about 120 parts per billion.

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Borch

It's been pretty nasty all summer. I was wondering when a die would occur with the water quality issues, low water levels and warm water temps. It truely was just a metter of time. frown.gif

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riverwalker

Ok so with another few summer like this how long will it take that lake to recover from a situation like this. When I was a kid we had a lake like this in our town. The fishing was good before the "bloom". Now it's considered a "dead lake". It's just a downhill trend from here if the summers keep up. It took about 15 years in my town to have the lake be able to NEVER recover....SAD situation....

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YummiYammis

Agreed! What a shame. What are the causes of such a bloom and what is the combative measures for such a situation? Is the water hypoxic...or does the bloom introduce toxins? What does temperature do to make it worse?

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IFallsRon

Lake suffers; what an understatement. There's not enough fresh water coming in to push out all the runoff and runout.

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MedicDan

It also makes me re-think the idea that just 2 weeks ago, I was still fishing the lake.

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NELS-BELLS

I saw something on the news a while back about how they have treated some of the small lakes and ponds in the cities by putting bales of straw in the water. It cleared the water right up. Apparantly something in the straw reacts with the algae and kills it. It would probably take a lot of straw to treat Little Rock. I don't recall if they have to repeat the procedure every year.

Nels

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Mark Christianson

And this dumps into the Mississippi River......

That news report last night was unreal. The water literally looked like green paint lapping up on shore.

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MSRiverdog

If this is or has been a recurring problem as it sounds like it has, maybe it's time to stop that water from going into the Miss. Twenty loads of sand, clay and rock, problem solved, at least for the Mississippi River. mad.gif

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CaptainMusky

Quote:

If this is or has been a recurring problem as it sounds like it has, maybe it's time to stop that water from going into the Miss. Twenty loads of sand, clay and rock, problem solved, at least for the Mississippi River.
mad.gif


All that would do is raise the water level of Little Rock Lake, flood out hundreds of homeowners and it would still flow into the Mississippi. I agree, they better do something to clean up the water that goes IN to Little Rock, then you have cleaner water coming out.

I wouldn't eat anything out of that lake.

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MedicDan

Quote:

I wouldn't eat anything out of that lake.


I don't either, I just fish for carp, catfish, suckers, etc... in the beginning of the year, I never fish later in the year on the lake.

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ASMOLEY

I think we need to do a lot about the rivers and creeks that flow into our lakes in this area. Little Rock is especially bad due to how shallow it is and the agriculture that surrounds the lake. All of central MN needs to a better job controling their run off.

Remember the Sauk River a year or too ago.....

Not to blame the farmers or anything but our lakes sure take a beating.

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CaptainMusky

The strange part is there is a trout stream within 1/4 mile of Little Rock lake. I have to imagine that the same runoff flows into the stream as it does into Little Rock.

A sign of poor water quality is lack of weeds. Weeds need oxygen to survive, there are not very many "quality" weeds in Little Rock. Unfortunately with all of the cuts made over the last few years in enforcement at the MPCA, situations like this will become more commonplace.

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uphill

If I am not mistaken I believe the stream flows into Little Rock not out of it. But I might be wrong.

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MedicDan

Experts: Algae fix to take time

By Mackenzie Ryan- St. Cloud Times

Published: July 31. 2007 12:30AM

RICE — The amount of toxin in the thick layer of blue-green algae in Little Rock Lake has risen, prompting continued health warnings and more intense testing.

"The advice is still the same," said Shannon Lotthammer, a manager for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency water monitoring section. She spoke to more than 50 people gathered Monday in the Watab Township Hall.

People should avoid contact with water from the lake, including water droplets that may be propelled into the air, until the algae scum is no longer visible. Animals also should be kept away from the water.

Residents with allergies or those particularly sensitive such as the young or the elderly should take more caution. Some residents have reported respiratory problems to the MPCA. In rare cases, if there is enough toxin, it can cause larger system failure or more serious side effects, Lotthammer said.

The MPCA found toxins in samples taken July 12 that are considered to be dangerous and high risk by the World Health Organization.

More tests July 25 found toxin levels in the WHO's very high risk category, the highest of four levels. The finding prompted an extension of the initial warning to residents.

"Unfortunately, we've had perfect conditions for growing algae," Lotthammer said.

Finding the causes

Hot temperatures, sunny skies, little rain, a windy spring and nutrients in the lake helped cause what could be the worst blue-green algae bloom in the lake's history.

The MPCA plans to install a monitoring system today that will average measurements over each half-hour, Lotthammer said.

Within a few days it will have preliminary data, which may shine more light on the problem.

But officials told the group the algae problem did not appear overnight, and said it will likely take time to solve.

"This isn't the first time this has happened; it may be the worst," said Dave Soderholm, a biologist from Monticello whose family has a cabin on the north shore.

"You have to look at this systemically," Soderholm said. "What is the problem? Why is this happening?"

That answer may come if Little Rock Lake is considered an impaired water in 2008, Lotthammer said. The Clean Water Act requires the MPCA to identify and restore impaired waters.

That's done through a three-year study and reduction plan called the Total Maximum Daily Load.

The TMDL will determine the causes of pollution and the maximum amount of a pollutant the lake can receive.

But residents don't have to wait three years to take action. Officials suggested becoming involved in the lake association, applying for grants through the association and considering independent studies.

The association is hoping to raise money to improve the lake through a raffle, member Jeff Soderholm said.

Residents may buy a $1 ticket at some businesses in Rice.

Individual property owners also can take steps by investigating how they could reduce nutrients running in the lake.

"You've taken the first step," said Maggie Leach of the MPCA. "Be here tomorrow. Be here next week. Be here three years from now. Make the commitment."

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