Blue Green Algae in Farlain Lake

Blue Green Algae Bloom in 2022

As the Farlain Lake community will no doubt remember, there was a blue-green algae bloom on the lake in 2022, which lasted from late July until the end of September. SSEA discovered the bloom while water quality sampling and notified the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks and the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit. A water quality advisory was issued, and residents were told not to enter the lake, use lake water for domestic purposes, or allow pets to enter the lake.
Aisha Chiandet, SSEA Water Scientist, provided an informative presentation to the Tiny Township Council in August of 2022 and it can be downloaded here.  SSEA – Farlain Lake Blue-Green Algae Update Tiny Council Aug 31 2022
Information regarding blue green algae in the Severn Sound area is available on You Tube.

Blue Green Algae Causation Study 2023

It remains to be seen whether a similar bloom will occur again in 2023 – much will depend on weather conditions and nutrient availability. The causes of algae blooms can be complex and not always easy to pinpoint. However, with support from the Township of Tiny, SSEA will be undertaking an Algae Causation Study this summer, aiming to determine contributing factors that led to last year’s bloom. Here are some of the key activities planned:
• Initiate a citizen science pilot project to complement SSEA’s existing Shore Watch program. This will involve having volunteers collect surface water samples and use handheld meters that measure algae pigments including chlorophyll a, contained in all algae, and phycocyanin, contained only in blue-green algae. A training workshop will be provided.
• Host a workshop for residents to discuss shoreline stewardship practices to help reduce nutrient inputs to the lake.
• Analyze historic climate and water quality data, including data collected during last year’s water quality survey, to determine trends in factors known to contribute to algal blooms.
• Use sediment cores that were collected from the lakebed in 2020 by Brock University students to reconstruct past algae communities and nutrient conditions. This can help determine whether nutrient concentrations in the sediment may be contributing to current algae growth.