New Waves April 2011

Breaking news about water resources research and education in Texas

Researchers, stakeholders discuss golden algae in Lake Granbury

Researchers, stakeholders discuss golden algae in Lake Granbury Citizens, city officials and agency personnel gathered on April 21 at Granbury City Hall to hear from scientists working to manage golden algae toxic blooms present in Lake Granbury. Along with other lakes in Texas and the nation, Lake Granbury periodically has toxic golden algae blooms, which cause fish kills. The algae typically bloom in the late winter.

Granbury Mayor Rickie Pratt welcomed the group of about 45 and introduced the topic most were well aware of—golden algae. County Commissioners Steve Berry and Mike Sympson were also in attendance as well as Rep. Bill Flores representative Diane Williams, and Hood County Extension agent Marty Vahlenkamp.

Drs. Dan Roelke of Texas A&M University, Jim Grover of University of Texas at Arlington, and Bryan Brooks of Baylor University have researched mitigation and management strategies within the lake to prevent these harmful blooms as part of the Testing Approaches to Golden Algae Control: In-Lake Mesocosm Experiment project. The project is managed by the Texas Water Resources Institute.

“We have very positive results showing the potential to decrease and in some cases eliminate toxic algae blooms,” said Roelke, associate professor in the Departments of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences and Oceanography. “We were able to effectively utilize pH manipulation; hydrologic flushing manipulation, where we used water deeper within the lake and brought to the surface; and ammonia addition manipulation. All three treatments prevented blooms from developing in prebloom conditions and an experiment during a bloom lessened the effect of the bloom.”

With results such as these, the scientists are looking forward to possible future implementation at a larger-scale, through in-lake demonstrations to further explore these options and their effects on golden algae, he said.

The researchers presented the golden algae management work done on Granbury to-date, the results from these experiments, and the future possible implementation options to control golden algae. A discussion, and question and answer session, with a panel of scientists and golden algae experts followed. In addition, the researchers solicited input from the homeowners, fishermen, city officials, agencies and others present at the meeting.

This project is supported by Congress with funds through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. For more information on the project, visit lakegranbury.tamu.edu.

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