News Feature | September 15, 2014

After Toledo, Other States Examine Algae

Sara Jerome

By Sara Jerome,

New Minnesota phosphorus regulations, implemented this summer, are being hailed as timely in the aftermath of the Toledo algae crisis.

This summer, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) adopted new river standards for nutrients. "It’s a wonkish milestone but also a significant step forward when it comes to protecting Minnesota’s treasured waterways," the Star Tribune editorial board commented

Environmentalists praised the regulations, as well. The standards "represent an important victory for water quality in Minnesota," according to Friends of the Mississippi River. 

Nevertheless, Minnesota remains a prime area for algae to take hold. 

"The recent stretch of warm, calm weather has brought good conditions for blue-green algae in Minnesota lakes, according to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency," the Post-Bulletin reported, citing the MPCA. 

Steve Heiskary, lake expert with MPCA, explained that the climate has provided good conditions for algae in Minnesota. 

"We're getting into the kind of weather that really allows for the blue-green blooms to take off," he said, per the report. 

Some residents suspect that Minnesota algae may have posed a serious risk to pets this summer. 

"The MPCA said it cannot positively identify toxic blue-green algae as the cause of two dog poisonings that occurred at Latsch Island late last month. Officials said they do not know what caused the poisonings or suspected poisonings, and while the agency cannot guarantee the safety of water, it advised swimmers and pet owners that if there are no obvious signs of dangerous algae, the water is probably OK," the Winona Post reported

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