Merrymeeting River Cyanobacteria

Cyanobacteria bloom along the Merrymeeting River. (Courtesy photo)

MEREDITH — Join the Lake Winnipesaukee Association on July 25 for an informative talk on the increasing occurrence of cyanobacteria blooms in area lakes and ponds. The talk will be held in the Carriage House, Church Landing at Mill Falls, from 6:30-8 p.m. Space is limited and pre-registration is required, and can be found by visiting www.eventbrite.com/e/cyanobacteria-its-threat-to-you-and-winnipesaukee-tickets-64385073488.

Blooms of potentially toxic cyanobacteria have been happening more frequently around the country and locally. This is a threat, not only to human and animal health, but to the local economy as well. Cyanobacteria, often referred to as blue-green algae, are a natural component of New Hampshire waterbodies, and are important organisms for the health and growth of many plants. However, cyanobacteria produce toxins that can affect the nervous, liver, and endocrine systems if ingested in large quantity.  

The presentation will feature James Haney, Ph.D., University of New Hampshire professor of biology, who has been studying the potential impacts of these toxins for decades. The potential human health hazards from exposure through drinking water or during recreational water activities is also a concern. Studies suggest cyanobacteria may be linked to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig's disease. Learn about the types of cyanobacteria, current management options, and what the public can do to help minimize blooms and keep Winnipesaukee healthy.

One of the goals of the Lake Winnipesaukee Association is to expand the monitoring program to include cyanobacteria monitoring throughout the lake. Another goal is to begin fixing sites that are contributing pollutants to the lake. 

The community can help in this effort. Shorefront property owners are the first line of defense against nutrient loading to the lake, and all property owners play a role. Stabilize soil with native plants to avoid erosion. Keep the natural vegetation and buffer along the shoreline. Do not use fertilizers or pesticides. Never rake leaves or dump sand into the lake. Reduce lawn area. These practices will help keep nutrients out of the lake.

Report algal bloom or water quality issues to the Lake Winnipesaukee Association, 603-581-6632 or mail@winnipesaukee.org.

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