On the Radio: Algae Blooms in Iowa


Photo by JoyBot; Flickr

This week’s radio segment discusses cyanobacteria and the potential harm to humans.  Read the transcript below or listen to the audio here.

This summer may not be a safe one for Iowa swimmers.

This is the Iowa Environmental Focus.

Due to an increase of fertilizer runoff from farm fields during the heavy spring rains, blue-green algal blooms are appearing in Iowa lakes.

Iowa’s water is among the most nutrient-rich water in the world. However, these nutrients are not a good thing when they over-fertilize lakes, rivers, and streams.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources’ State Park Beach Monitoring Program regularly tests for toxins found in blue-green algae, or cyanobacteria. This summer the blue green algae blooms appeared in Lake McBride unusually early.

Park officials are required to post signs at the beaches with algal blooms warning swimmers that it is not a safe swimming area.

Common reported conditions of exposure to algal bloom toxins include skin irritation or gastrointestinal problems.

For more information about the algae blooms in Iowa, visit iowaenvironmentalfocus.org.

From the UI Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research, I’m Jerry Schnoor.

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