A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

It’s the season: Algae choke Waverly Lake

Written September 13th, 2021 by Hasso Hering

Taking a look at Waverly Lake on Sunday afternoon.

My Sunday bike ride took me past Albany’s Waverly Lake, and now I’m wondering about all that algal scum that has covered a good portion of this 10-acre pond.

The water is more or less stagnant, and this algal growth happens every summer and fall. Sunlight, warm temperatures and the load of nutrients in the water all contribute to it. Since this has been an especially warm summer without any rain, the conditions are ripe.

The last time I asked the city parks department about this, some years ago, the answer was not to worry about it because when the seasons change the algae will go away, And they usually do.

What I was wondering, though, was whether this algal bloom was potentially harmful.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have all kinds of information online about algal blooms and the potential harm caused by the toxins created by some of them. But the agency points out that not all algal blooms are potentially harmful. So what does a cautious person do?

“If you see signs of a bloom, stay out of the water and keep your pets out of the water,” the CDC says on its website. “You cannot tell if a bloom is harmful by looking at it, so it is best to use caution and stay away. Do not fish, swim, boat, or play water sports in areas where this is possible harmful algae or cyanobacteria.”

At Waverly Lake, that advice is mostly ignored, especially by anglers.

I’ve not read any reports of people getting sick from contact with the water or fish, so the algal rafts on this pond appear to be harmless and not the kind that produce toxins. And since the problem is temporary, though unsightly, there’s no reason to be overly concerned. (hh).


Kayakers fish in sections of Waverly not covered by algae.



4 responses to “It’s the season: Algae choke Waverly Lake”

  1. Bill Maddy says:

    Many area ponds and lakes have also had large amounts of Duckweed. When water levels are low and during drought periods, Duckweed can make water bodies look undesirable or unhealthy (depending on your point of view). Duckweed appears as either green and/or pink in color. The pink color is the duckweed flower.

  2. Diane says:

    Drove by there today and it looks awful. Not the best impression for folks coming into our city.

  3. Gordon L. Shadle says:

    It is true that not all algae are harmful.

    But something is clearly wrong.

    Blooms to some extent are driven by global warming and pollution. They pose a growing threat to every Albany human and animal. My goodness, just think how the blooms affect tourism. No one wants to see this swill as they exit I-5.

    This would be a terrible crisis to waste.

    A global warming tax must be levied on every Albany citizen by the city council. Use the money to hire more regulators. It’s for the common good.


  4. David Ballard says:

    “The solution to pollution is dilution”. This is what a medical assistant told me at the urgent care facility recently as she was cleaning a knife wound in my forearm, (an accidental, self-inflicted wound with a utility blade). Waverley Lake needs refreshed with flow from a good thunder boomer or two.


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