State officials discuss growing statewide blue-green algae problem

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RIB MOUNTAIN, Wis. (WAOW) — Members of the Natural Board of Resources out of Madison visited Rib Mountain State Park on Tuesday.

Members of the board, who oversee statewide DNR’s, discussed a broad range of environmental concerns including blue-green algae and the impact it’s having on Wisconsin.

Concerns have also been raised after a recent case in North Carolina where three dogs died hours after playing in a pond filled with the algae.

“Blue green algae is particularly toxic,” Todd Ambs with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources said. “If people ingest it, it can cause illness and especially dogs. There have been unfortunate situations where dogs have swam in some of that, ingested that, and it’s actually killed those dogs.”

The DNR said it’s a rapidly growing problem in waterways across the state, which is where the toxic algae grows and thrives.

“We have about 800 that are on the list as what’s called impaired waters under the clean water act,” Ambs said. “A form of excess nutrients that get into the water in really high concentrations that can prove to be really problematic.”

Ambs also added that a contributing factor to blue-green algae is runoff, whether it be from a construction site or storm water going into waterways.

Officials said solving the issue could take a long time to solve, but they’re confident their efforts will help.

“Blue-green algae has been on our radar screen and we’re looking forward to working with the current administration to tackle that problem,” Dr. Frederick Prehn, Chairman of the Natural Resources Board said. “Anytime you have an issue that’s this complex it takes a tremendous amount of time and effort.”

“Where we have these impairments there’s actually requirement under federal law that we move forward with a cleanup plan,” Ambs stated.

The Natural Resources Board is asking that you attend meetings or reach out to them if you have any concerns about blue-green algae, and if you would like to play a part in helping them fight it.

 

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