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Algae Blooms in Great Lakes

Michigan's Great Lakes

The pressing issue of pollution keeps coming up in our local news over here in Michigan. Some may think I harp on the topic too much on Sportsman’s Habitat. But you know what, when there’s a chance that our beautiful outdoors could be ruined by our own stupidity, well I have to get the word out and help people understand the reality of the situation.

Study has just been released in the Detroit News stating that chemicals is damaging our Great Lakes, you can read the full article here, that way the skeptics don’t think I’m making a lot of this stuff up. A lot of fishermen live in their own fake world, believing that pollution has subsided and lakes are healthier than ever. I wish that was true!

The truth is there has been an over dumping of chemicals in our Great Lakes in the past years, resulting in this sudden huge blue-green algae bloom. Many scientists claim this is due to overflows from inadequate municipal sewage treatment and septic systems, plus runoff of livestock manure and fertilizers from large farms. I’ve been saying the overflowing of sewage treatment plants have been a problem for a long time, for instance the treatment plant on the milk river. On days when I worked at the park I saw all kinds of nasty stuff spewing down the river, used condoms and tampons. It’s sick I know, but maybe this will grab your attention!

It’s only a matter of time when we can’t even drink water from our own tap. Did you know that caffeine is starting to show up in fish? You know what that’s from? It’s from us drinking coffee, then it gets passed down from our body into the toilet, then into our own lakes, then the fish suck it in. Same goes for the drugs we take, the fish are breathing this in along with human beings taking in a second dose when they drink water and eat fish. This isn’t just for the Great Lakes either, we’re talking about lakes and oceans everywhere in the world. What about all these new mind altering drugs everyone takes nowadays, for instance Xanax. Whether you like it or not you’re getting a diluted dose of the drug. The treatment plants can’t filter all these chemicals out of our water before they send it out to your tap. Scary isn’t it?

Blue-green algae bloom, Lake Champlain

I can’t help it, I have to refer again to the post I made on Michigan Sportsman. They laughed at me when I said we shouldn’t be eating the fish out of Lake St. Clair. One charter fisherman said “been eating fish from there for years now (more than 26). Have not died yet and still not glowing in the dark from contaminants.” Well people, it’s two years since I made that post on Michigan Sportsman. So far we’ve had the BP Oil Spill in our ocean and another oil spill on the Kalamazoo River. Is this a big wake up call for us or what?

Back to the topic at hand, sort of got side tracked! This soupy, blue-green algae bloom in the Great Lakes should be a big worry for us. Could this algae be related to the big gizzard shad die off? Well I’m not sure, I’m not a scientist. The International Joint Commission is begging our government for an update of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. The Commission wants a bigger reduction in in discharges of chemicals and phosphate detergents responsible for algae blooms that “killed” large numbers of fish by sucking oxygen from the water.

The recent die off of shad and the big algae bloom should be a big concern for us fishermen. On top of that we still have the worry of asian carp making their way into the Great Lakes. This is a lot to take in I know, but maybe if we come together and help address these problems, we might have a brighter future!