News: Non-toxic algae appearing on Beaver Lake
Story by Laurie Driver
ROGERS, Ark. - With air temperatures changing and the fall season upon us, many folks are still enjoying all that Beaver Lake has to offer. Some visitors have noticed algal blooms floating on the surface of various areas of Beaver Lake.
The algal blooms do not encompass all of Beaver Lake; rather it appears in small pockets and random locations. The blooms have occurred on Beaver Lake for many years as the seasons transition from summer to fall. Samples from this recent algal bloom have been analyzed and identified as a type of Blue Green Algae called “Oscillatoria limosa.”
The algal bloom is naturally short lived and is dissipated by wind, dilution, and changes in water/air temperature. Eventual death of the algae filaments will occur.
Although no known major health risks are associated with this type of algae, skin rashes may result from direct contact. Authorities recommend individuals avoid swimming or other water related recreational activities where the water is discolored or where foam, scum, or mats of algae are observed on the water.
Pet owners should exercise caution with regard to pets drinking or swimming in these waters if algae is present.
The Corps of Engineers, Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality, Benton County Health Department and the Beaver Water Supply District will continue to monitor and coordinate any incidents of BGA.
BGA, also known as cyanobacteria, are microscopic organisms that live in water. The algae are usually too small to be seen, but can sometimes form a visible algal bloom which is a rapid increase or accumulation of algae in an aquatic system. BGA blooms can form in warm, slow-moving waters that are rich in nutrients.
Blooms usually occur in late summer or early fall. BGA can be found in any body of water, such as lakes, ponds, creeks, oceans, or stagnant waters. BGA looks like foam, scum, or mats on a water surface. The blooms can be blue, bright green, brown, or even red in color. Some blooms may not affect the appearance of the water. As algae in the bloom die, however, the water may have an unpleasant odor.
For more information, please contact the Beaver Lake Project Office at 479-636-1210.
For more information about recreational activities at Beaver Lake, find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/beaverlakeusace on Twitter at https://twitter.com/#!/usacelittlerock.