Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Algae


The front page of yesterday's Daily Press had an article on algae and the Chesapeake Bay.

"The normally blue-green waters are awash in cranberry-colored stains that, scientists say, indicate the bay still has serious pollution problems."

According to the article, if the algae is dense enough it creates dead zones--areas depleted of oxygen--which can kill baby oysters and crabs, among other things.

"'It's an indication that the bay's water quality is out of balance,' said Christy Everett, Hampton Roads director of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, the elder statesman of a growing number of bay advocacy groups."

A combination of warm water and dense nutrients from storm water runoff creates the perfect environment for the algae to thrive. The runoff dumps fresh water laden with things such as fertilizer and animal waste, which create nitrogen and phosphorus. As the water cools, the algae dies and sinks to the bottom.

"As it decomposes, it consumes oxygen while sinking to the sea floor."

My father recently took a boat ride for the first time in many years. He was astounded at all of the new homes along the water. It's nearly impossible to find a patch of waterfront that hasn't been cleared.

Although I am in no way, shape or form fit to discuss science on any level, I have made some general observations over the years. The water in our creek has definitely changed over time--it's darker, murkier. What that is from I cannot say, I just know it's different.

Over time different forms of wildlife have come and gone on our creek. When I was a kid, mallard ducks and muskrats were everywhere; now we're lucky if we see any. Canada geese? We never had them 20 years ago. Now they come here in throngs thanks to Chesapeake Bay Mother's 24-hour Corn Buffet and Spa.

I could go on and on but my point is this: What sort of algae do I need to buy to create an oxygen-deprived dead zone in the hopes of keeping Gustav the Goose from leading his Canadian friends into my yard?


For more information on the state of the bay, visit the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's site.

For more information on Gustav and his antics, check out
his Facebook page.

10 comments:

Meg @ Soup Is Not A Finger Food said...

How about a plastic bag and a rubber band? For example...

deborah said...

This is too sad, loving the bay to death. I hope people will realize this and do whatever needs to be done to improve its health.

I don't think there is anything that can keep Gustav at home, I saw him in a TV commercial yesterday! Very scary...

Jamie said...

I could go on and on about things missing from the water... horseshow crabs for instance. There was a time you'd find 50 or so on the beach in June mating. Haven't seen that in a long time. Used to see Sea Robin jumping wave to wave too, and River Otters, haven't had them since I was 10... why can't the stinging nettles disappear?

Daryl said...

Maybe a Canadian flag with a X across it?

OR ask the Baroness to call her friends to come home ...

Meg's idea sounds good ...

WV worial .. I worial the time

Caution Flag said...

His extended family live here. They all went in together and bought the entire state of Michigan.

Noe Noe Girl...A Queen of all Trades. said...

Save the Bay!
LOL @ Meg!
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Linda said...

I live on a large Lake in Upstate SC. Our water problems are a result of new construction, clearing the land and run-off. But the biggest culprit is fertilizer. And the Canada Geese! Sheesh! We get a whole herd (15-20)of them everyday and all they do is eat and poop! If you find a way to rid your property of them, please share!

Gustav said...

Contrary to popular belief, *I* was not the culprit behind the water pollution. I am a corn-eater, nothing more. I do poop, however. Pooped in your shoe, Lady, and I'll do it again, HISSSSSSSSSSS.

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

Gustav,

Nice try on the "I only eat corn" bit. You and your friends from Canada not only devour my tomatoes but leave far too much pollution over here. A person can't even walk barefoot in her own yard. The humanity.

I may have to start practicing my Ninja moves to keep you and your friends in place. You've been warned.

Audrey at Barking Mad said...

Do they call the reddish-brown algae "red tide" down there as well? I know this happens in Maine from time to time and no one is allowed in the water and you can't fish/lobster/dig for clams or anything until the gov't folks come out and declare it safe. People who subsist on those harvesting things from the sea take such a hit. It's happening more and more, too!

BTW, maybe we could send ya'll some of our mayflies. We've finally identified that's what the bugs are, that have been infesting out home, and completely covering the outside of the house at times and making life, generally, hell. They are a sign of a clean lake. Maybe we could send you a couple billion (we seriously have that many!) and you could release them over the Chesapeake? No? Well, it was just a thought.