ESF Leads Test of Weapon Against Harmful Algal Bloom
Nearly $400,000 grant awarded to Great Lakes Research Consortium
The Great Lakes Research Consortium at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) has been awarded a three-year grant of $399,658 to test the use of hydrogen peroxide to control hazardous blue-green algae blooms that have formed on the southern shore on Lake Ontario in Sodus Bay, N.Y.
Dr. Greg Boyer, director of the Great Lakes Research Consortium and professor of chemistry at ESF, said, "The treatment being studied, liquid hydrogen peroxide, has been successfully used in the Netherlands where it was applied in the control of cyanobacteria at swimming beaches."
In addition, Boyer said the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency used a similar approach this past April to control toxic cyanobacteria at the state parks at Grand Lake St Mary's State Park.
Algae blooms became abundant on Sodus Bay in 2010 shortening the area's busy tourism season. The economic loss was estimated to be in the millions of dollars, according to Save Our Sodus, a community group formed to promote water quality.
The first phase started in August 2011 to identify potential 'hotspots" for bloom formation. Phase 2 starts next summer with the treatment being applied in small areas. This will allow a determination of the minimal level of peroxide needed to remove the cyanobacteria when a larger area of the bay is treated. There will probably be some large plastic enclosures on the bay where limited treatment will be applied with the option of full-scale treatment in two years.
The N.Y. Department of Environmental Conservation will also be involved in the permitting process and will assist with detailed monitoring of the effects and safety of this material on plankton, zooplankton and fish populations.
Boyer notes, "This effort is a short-term approach that is part of a larger effort working with the Wayne County Soil and Water Conservation District, Save our Sodus, and the local towns and communities to address both the cyanobacteria problem and weed growth through changes in the nutrient loads, watershed management and control of invasive species."
For more information go to: www.SaveOurSodus.com
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