Pond Scum (Algae Bloom) Still in Effect

Sadly, I have been watching this all summer long.  There has been no respite from algae bloom after algae bloom after algae bloom.  The pond is just choking in the stuff!  I haven’t posted any pictures in awhile because it’s so bad.  Take a look at this one:


It is absolutely disgusting.  It sticks to your canoe or kayak.  It smells horrible.  It covers everything and it’s everywhere except for the very center of the pond where the river runs its fastest.

The other day, I observed some of this goop being formed.  I always assumed that algae starts its life on top of the water.  So it came as a complete surprise when I saw a large dollop of the stuff suddenly “bloop” up to the surface.  I saw the whole thing happen.  I could see a heavy dark mossy clump adhering to some pebbles on the bottom of the pond.  Apparently buoyancy must have taken over because it suddenly detached itself and bobbed up to the surface.  Once on top of the water, its sides drooped down and I could see long tendrils or roots extending from its underbelly.  It reminded me of a jellyfish!  I witnessed this process repeat itself several times.

I am now of the opinion that most of this stuff grows on the bottom of the pond in the shallow areas where excess nutrients from runoff and fertilizer coalesce.  Once these clumps start floating, more algae grows on top of them.  They can even join together to make a large “skin.”  Furthermore, these rafts can get so big and thick that they support leaves, twigs, feathers and all kinds of debris – truly disturbing.

I just wish there was something we could do about it.

Rain Finally Comes!

The ground has been parched for many weeks.  And the pond has stilled with little fresh water coming from upriver.  Local farmers are getting nervous, saying they’re absolutely desperate for rain.  The Tecumseh Herald ran this article on July 23rd:  Drought worsens, Lenawee County at ‘severe drought’ level.

Well, this evening it rained steadily for over two hours.  Who would have thought you could get so excited to see it rain? But I ran outside and jumped up and down and danced around like a lunatic.  I am so happy!

Rain glorious rain - Red Mill Pond - July 30, 2016
Rain glorious rain – Red Mill Pond – July 30, 2016

I sprinted down to the pond to see what’s going on.  It’s amazing what a difference a little rain can make!  I see the river is flowing again.  There’s mist hanging in the air over the pond.  Rain drops explode like little meteors on its surface.  And, the water is clear again, well there’s some turbidity but, storms will do that.  The important thing is, the algae bloom has been washed away downstream (sorry Lake Erie) and the pond is alive.

And as if on command, I see a carp swimming cheerfully by, along the water’s edge.  He spots me and darts away with a flick of his tail, kicking up a cloud of sediment behind him.  Wonderful!

Hopefully, we can get some more of this lovely wet soggy rain over the next few days.

Algae Bloom Suffocates

Ugh!  Could it get any worse?  An algea bloom has been suffocating the pond for over two weeks.

Algae bloom suffocates Red Mill Pond - July 28, 2016
A dark sticky mass of ooey, gooey muck encases much of the pond – July 28, 2016

Our community, along with the rest of the Midwest, is experiencing drought again.  There has not been enough rain in recent months to effect a good flow of the River Raisin through the pond.  And this is the result.

Contaminants from unregulated farm runoff and  the application of fertilizers to residential lawns are taking a toll on the river.  The water is stagnant.  And with no movement, everything seems to have come to a halt.  Now it’s not unusual to have an algae bloom or two in the Springtime – after the farmers finish planting and fertilizing and the chem lawn trucks have rolled through the neighborhood.  But usually by this time of the year, everything has washed downstream.  So it is unusual to see the pond in this state of affair so far along in the season.

I watch as a carp breaks through the morass with an overly slow, lethargic motion.  How different it looks now to earlier in the season when they were spawning!  They were swimming around with unbounded enthusiasm – so lively.  The water was clear and you could see hundreds of them racing around the edge of the pond.  Now this?  “Bloop!” the thick soupy water gives way as the fish breaks the surface – green slime adheres to his back as he pushes through the filth.  I wonder how can the poor creature even breathe in this muck?