GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) — Senator Tammy Baldwin spent time talking to people from Green Bay’s sewage and water programs, trying to tackle blue-green algae.
“We know so little about what causes them, when to expect them, how to combat them,” said Baldwin.
Blue-green algae blooms are becoming a little more pervasive.
“I really think there’s a very clear need for more investment in the science and the research,” she said.
Let’s start with what we know: blue-green algae is more specifically known as cyano bacteria.
“Cyano bacteria are some of the oldest organisms in the world,” said Sarah Bartlett, a water resource specialist at NEW Water. “They aren’t going away any time soon.”
There are blooms every year, but the goal is to cut them down.
Blue-green algae loves warmer water, especially when it’s over 80 degrees.
“It’s going to look like a pea-soup scum on the surface of the water,” she said. “It’s probably going to have a nice odor to it. Not nice in a good way.”
Like it or not, we are all contributing to the blooms.
The irony is that we’re also the solution.
“Making sure your leaves are raked and they don’t fall into the storm sewer,” she said. “Making sure that you pick up your dog waste. Just little things to keep what’s on the land, on the land and out of the water.”
Blue-green algae produce toxins that can be harmful if swallowed, and just getting into contact with it can cause a reaction.
So keep an eye out. And keep your distance.
“Maybe your throat’s going to get a little scratchy, you might get a rash,” said Bartlett. “Because these are so non-specific, it’s really hard to say that your rash did come from blue-green algae, but that is something that you might encounter if you’re going to swim or recreate in some of that green water.”
Senator Baldwin says the recently passed Farm Bill will be a good first step toward minimizing the spread of the blue-green algae.