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).