Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Harmful Algal Blooms Are Increasing Across the U.S.

Climate
Harmful Algal Blooms Are Increasing Across the U.S.
Harmful algal blooms, seen here at Ferril Lake in Denver, Colorado on June 30, 2016, are increasing in lakes and rivers across the U.S. Helen H. Richardson / The Denver Post / Getty Images

During summer in central New York, residents often enjoy a refreshing dip in the region's peaceful lakes.

But sometimes swimming is off-limits because of algae blooms that can make people sick.


"Some of the algae may produce chemical toxins that can have harmful effects on people, fish, shellfish, terrestrial and marine mammals, and birds," says Jennifer Graham, a research hydrologist with the United States Geological Survey.

She says reports of harmful algal blooms are increasing across the country, and climate change could be part of the reason.

Some harmful algae prefer warm temperatures, so blooms may be growing more common as rivers and lakes warm.

Extreme weather can also contribute to algal blooms because heavy rain can cause nutrients to run off farm fields and sewage systems into waterways.

"Nutrients are basically the food source for algae," Graham says.

In New York's Finger Lakes and other locations across the country, the USGS is monitoring algal blooms.

Graham says they are trying to better understand toxic bloom growth and severity, so local agencies can make informed decisions about how to protect people.

Reposted with permission from Yale Climate Connections.

The Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn, New York, a polluted nearly 2 mile-long waterway that is an EPA Superfund site. Jonathan Macagba / Moment / Getty Images

Thousands of Superfund sites exist around the U.S., with toxic substances left open, mismanaged and dumped. Despite the high levels of toxicity at these sites, nearly 21 million people live within a mile of one of them, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Read More Show Less
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
The National Weather Service station in Chatham, Massachusetts, near the edge of a cliff at the Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge. Bryce Williams / National Weather Service in Boston / Norton

A weather research station on a bluff overlooking the sea is closing down because of the climate crisis.

Read More Show Less
Trending
Amsterdam is one of the Netherlands' cities which already has "milieuzones," where some types of vehicles are banned. Unsplash / jennieramida

By Douglas Broom

  • If online deliveries continue with fossil-fuel trucks, emissions will increase by a third.
  • So cities in the Netherlands will allow only emission-free delivery vehicles after 2025.
  • The government is giving delivery firms cash help to buy or lease electric vehicles.
  • The bans will save 1 megaton of CO2 every year by 2030.

Cities in the Netherlands want to make their air cleaner by banning fossil fuel delivery vehicles from urban areas from 2025.

Read More Show Less
Protestors stage a demonstration against fracking in California on May 30, 2013 in San Francisco, California. Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

A bill that would have banned fracking in California died in committee Tuesday.

Read More Show Less
EXTREME-PHOTOGRAPHER / E+ / Getty Images

By Brett Wilkins

As world leaders prepare for this November's United Nations Climate Conference in Scotland, a new report from the Cambridge Sustainability Commission reveals that the world's wealthiest 5% were responsible for well over a third of all global emissions growth between 1990 and 2015.

Read More Show Less