Cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) are a natural and essential part of our environment and water ecosystems, and can be found in many ponds, lakes, rivers, and wetlands in New Brunswick. Not all cyanobacteria are harmful, but some can produce toxins, which can impact the health of humans and animals.
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What is Cyanobacteria
Getting to Know Cyanobacteria
Cyanobacteria is the proper name for blue-green algae, because these organisms are actually bacteria and not algae at all! Cyanobacteria were the earliest known forms of life on earth.
They are a natural part of our environment and water ecosystems, and can be found in many ponds, lakes, rivers, and wetlands in New Brunswick.
Blooms usually occur when temperatures get warmer, typically in the late spring and early summer sometimes appearing quickly or overnight.
They are not normally visible, but under certain conditions (warm, slow moving, shallow water and lots of sunlight) and when there is lots of food (nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen), they can grow quickly and clump together to form
surface blooms or benthic mats.
Some types of cyanobacteria can produce toxins that are harmful to humans and animals. Because of this, public health advisories may be issued.
Factors Influencing Cyanobacteria
Although nutrients are naturally occurring in bodies of water and are needed for plant and animal life, too much phosphorus and nitrogen can cause problems by offsetting the natural balance of the lake. These problems arise or are compounded when storm water, agricultural runoff, industrial and wastewater effluent, faulty septic systems and lawn fertilizers find their way into the body of water.
We can all play a key role in the prevention of cyanobacteria blooms
through helping to keep excess nutrients from entering the water. This can be done by:
Not removing shoreline vegetation and promoting the growth of natural plant species.
Not using fertilizers or herbicides, especially near water.
Ensuring your septic tank and field are well maintained and located far from the shore.
Using only phosphate-free household and personal cleaning products.
And please.... DO NOT BATHE in the lake. There are no lake friendly detergents