Over the past few years, the Severn Sound region has seen an increase in the number of reported cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae blooms, on inland lakes. In particular, there was a reported and documented blue-green algae bloom on Farlain Lake last year which lasted from late July until the end of September. Community members will recall the disturbing and disruptive water advisories!
It remains to be seen whether a similar bloom will occur again this year. The causes of algal blooms can be complex and not always easy to pinpoint. However, with support from the Township of Tiny, and assistance from the FLCA, the Severn Sound Environmental Association (SSEA) will be undertaking an Algae Causation Study this summer, aiming to determine contributing factors that led to last year’s bloom.
We are currently seeking volunteers for our Algae Monitoring Program to collect information on current lake health and algae conditions. This will involve collecting water samples at 2 offshore and 3 near shore sites on Farlain Lake, as well as recording basic water and weather observations. With a target start date of early June, a training workshop will be held for volunteers to learn proper sample collection methods – tentatively scheduled for Wednesday May 31 at 6:00 p.m.
Sampling will begin following the workshop and will occur ideally on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, depending on the availability and number of volunteers. The samples will be dropped off at the SSEA office located in Port McNicoll, where they will then be analyzed using fluorometers. If we recruit enough volunteers, we can set up a sign up sheet for each sampling week to spread out sampling and sample drop off duties.
Since blue-green algae blooms may occur past the summer into early fall, depending on weather conditions and nutrient availability, we are aiming for study outcomes as early as October.
Along with our citizen science pilot project, we are planning on hosting a community educational webinar to discuss shoreline stewardship practices to help reduce further nutrient inputs to the lake.
This is a very important project and the FLCA sincerely appreciates the support for our lake being provided by Tiny Township and the SSEA! We will be assisting in any way we can starting with ensuring that SSEA has the volunteer support it needs. Please get in touch with Aisha now if you are interested in volunteering by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also contact the FLCA at email@example.com.