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Citizen Dave: Madison's lakes are a bit worse than average this summer

<i>Microcystis</i>
Microcystis
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Earlier this year amidst this spring's intense rains, I wrote about how all the runoff probably would not bode well for the state of Madison's lakes this summer.

Well, anyway that was the opinion of one of the world's leading limnologists, Steve Carpenter at the UW-Madison Center for Limnology. Things don't really seem that bad so far this year, so I checked in with Steve the other day.

Here's what he wrote back to me:

Water clarity is a bit worse than average this week (of July 22nd). When I checked recently, I saw a lot of Microcystis (the potentially toxic cyanobacteria) but it was mixed through the water so we were not getting scummy blooms.

Bottom line -- a little worse than average, so far. But the dog days of August are yet to come.

As a general rule, the theory goes that lots of rain (and we've had lots of rain) will tend to flush more nutrients and pollutants into the lakes resulting in more algal blooms and less water clarity. So far that doesn't seem to have held up in the sense that a lot more rain hasn't resulted in a corresponding amount of algae and other nasty stuff.

Let's hope that holds into August.

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