Blue Green Algae
Hello, how would I know that I have blue green algae in our irrigation ponds, and if yes, how to get rid of them. We have heard a lot about how toxic they are to animals, especially dogs. Our dogs love to swim in the ponds, and now we are worried. I would appreciate any help you can give us. Are there any test kits we could use? Thank you very much in advance, and have a great day! Angela Sommers 541-842-8584
Josephine County Oregon
That said, blue-green algae issues are pretty similar to any fresh waters in which they arise. Regarding identification, this fact sheet coauthors and I first published in 2010 may still be of some use(note that the contact info it gives for me is outdated): https://ohioseagrant.osu.edu/products/ab280/habs-in-ohio-waters (some name changes since: Anabaena has been renamed Dolichospermum, and Lyngbya has been renamed Microseira). Here’s an article I wrote on managing against related problems in ponds: https://senr.osu.edu/sites/senr/files/imce/files/extension_outreach/ponds_fish_aq_mgmt/OhioPondNews/OPN_SP15.pdf. One of the most common blooming genera in recent times is Microcystis; it tends to form bright green, streaked surface scums in calm weather. In addition to the fact sheet note the attached images that I shot on a pond with which I'm working in Ohio. If you see any green scums that give you pause, I strongly encourage you to restrict access by your dogs.
Many species can produce toxins, but variably so.
- Single point-in-time tests don’t reveal much; meaningful toxin monitoring of a bloom site over time becomes prohibitively expensive.
- Give monitoring priority on sites used for commercial purposes (like irrigation or aquaculture), domestic water supplies, or with public contact/access.
- Less so (like probably not at all) on sites used for casual recreation or aesthetics (instead, limit human contact and restrict access by domestic animals).