Organizations Team Up To Monitor Lake Health

For at least 3 weeks during the summer, thick algae blooms in Lake Lillinonah

Algal Bloom
Photo:suavehouse113, Flickr Creative Commons
Organizations Team Up To Monitor Lake Health
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Organizations Team Up To Monitor Lake Health

Friends of the Lake, a group dedicated to protecting Lake Lillinonah on the Housatonic River, is teaming up with a global network of scientists who are studying lakes from all over the world. WNPR’s Nancy Cohen reports.

Lake Lillinonah is a reservoir on the Housatonic, built for hydro electric power generation and flood control. The lake is enjoyed by kayakers, waterskiiers and fishermen. But for at least 3 weeks of the summer, thick algae blooms keep people away. Greg Bollard of Friends of the Lake, says the algae is fueled by excessive nitrogen and phosphorous from sewage treatment plants and storm water runoff that flows into the lake,

"It turns into pea soup. You wouldn’t even put your foot in the water and it can create a huge back-up of just scum and it can have a foul odor and totally unusable for recreational use."

But now Lake Lillinonah will be part of GLEON, the Global Lake Ecological Observatory Network.  This network of scientists is working with Friends of the Lake to deploy electronic sensors that measure temperature, oxygen and chlorophyl levels to further understand algae blooms. The data will be collected automatically every 15 minutes and sent to the GLEON website as well as to the Friends of the Lake website. The network includes lakes from as far away as China, Ireland and Israel.  

For WNPR, I’m Nancy Cohen.