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Name:   War Eagle dogs - Email Member Reply
Subject:   water quality / algae?
Date:   9/20/2016 2:24:49 PM   IP ADDRESS:

Can someone please tell me what has changed in the past 3 years causing our beautiful, clear lake water to be filled with green algae?  

I have photos of our pier that proove the water was clear enough to see the sandy bottom up to at least 5 feet deep.  Now the shoreline is

full of this nasty green stuff !  We are very careful not to allow grass cuttings or clippings fall into the water but often have rose bush

clippings,etc. floating up on our shoreline which someone else has thrown in the lake.  What a mess!  Whatever has ruined our clean, clear

water, I want to know what can be done about this problem.   Thanks, War Eagle dogs

Name:   copperline - Email Member Reply
Subject:   water quality / algae?
Date:   9/20/2016 3:56:07 PM   IP ADDRESS:

Not sure what exactly is going on... but I would be looking for ways that additional nutrients were leeching into the water... you are already looking at lawn fertilizer runoff... you might also consider whether aging septic tank systems in the area are adding to algae growth.   In othe lakes I have known (Guntersville being a prime example), there have been blooms of aquatic plants that foul the water.   I think the one on Guntersville was called Milfoil.   It's nasty stuff, smells to high heaven.  Not sure if that stuff has migrated to Lake Martin, but things like that have been known to happen.   It's like water-borne Kudzu.....

One of the good things about Lake Martin is that the annual rise & fall of the water inhibits this sort of thing... but may not eliminate it, I guess.

Good luck.  I don't like swimming in green water either.

Name:   War Eagle dogs - Email Member Reply
Subject:   water quality / algae?
Date:   9/20/2016 6:19:44 PM   IP ADDRESS:

Thanks for your response.  Could be the problem, but seems odd that it algae was not present 3 years ago. Is there any way to reduce or rid the water of algae now that it is so prevalent?  Old septic tanks have been on the lake for a very long time but this problem is relatively new on Lake Martin.  The clean, clear water is what has always made Lake Martin special when compared to Logan Martin, Lake Mitchell and other lakes in Alabama.  I never noticed algae before in the 30 years that we have owned a lake house on Lake Martin.  Thanks again for your input.   War Eagle dogs

Name:   Mack - Email Member Reply
Subject:   water quality / algae?
Date:   9/20/2016 6:47:55 PM   IP ADDRESS:

Where is your place? Do you regularly fertilize your lawn? How deep is the water where you last encounter the algae?

We regularly have some algae on the bottom toward the end of Summer/Beginning of Fall. But I attribute that to falling water depth and rising water temps. And I do not use any fertilizer anywhere near the water.

Name:   dogleg - Email Member Reply
Subject:   water quality / algae?
Date:   9/20/2016 7:18:24 PM   IP ADDRESS:

We have been on this formerly very clear lake since 1962. For the last several years, water clarity has gradually but steadily decreased, algae has increased and, in our immediate water, what was a rocky bottom has silted over with the decayed remnants of that algae. Where we once could bump a Jelly worm with a lead head along the rocky bottom and have it come out clean, now results in a gob of yuck on the end of your line. Up until the late 1980s, there was considerable undeveloped lake front property, a fact proudly held high by APC and Russel Lands. Also, most of the developed lakefront property was essentially a cabin on a wooded or minimally landscaped lot. All that changed, it seemed to me, when, after three or four years of multiple hurricane strikes on Florida, many who were set to obtain a vacation or retirement abode at the beach, decided inland water was safer. Several "retirement" publications discussed this and some even listed Lake Martin as the number one destination for those not wanting to risk a beach front situation. Property values skyrocketed, formerly well intentioned stewards of the lake, APC/RL, felt a stronger need to cash in, undeveloped lakefront property was developed, the economy was good and McMansions with large turf lawns began to sprout everywhere, and previously prevented multi-family dwellings, condominiums, began to be allowed, yadda Yadda. Fertilizer runoff I suspect is a culprit in much of the increase in turbidity and algae growth. But this type of development has also led to issues such as increased boat traffic, light pollution, and noise pollution, all of which I find more onerous than the algae. Don't get me wrong, I'm not being curmudgeonly. We tore our old cabin down and built a full blown house with grass a few years ago to accommodate our family's growth (but we do watch the lights, noise and fertilizer). And we still have a beautiful lake that is one of the cleanest in the southeast. 

Name:   Samdog - Email Member Reply
Subject:   water quality / algae?
Date:   9/20/2016 10:47:41 PM   IP ADDRESS:

It seem to me the lake began to loose clarity after the 2007 drought and has gotten slowly worse. I even notice it in the very deep parts of the lake. Last year the lake stayed full most of the winter and this summer has been warm which might contribute.

Name:   Lifer - Email Member Reply
Subject:   water quality / algae?
Date:   9/21/2016 8:07:16 AM   IP ADDRESS:

If you call APCO someone will come and check it.  If it is an invasive species they will eradicate it. At the end of my slough is a small house that has had long term renters till this spring.  For the past several years their water was overtaken by Lilly pads unless they kept them pulled out.  They moved in April and the Lilly pads took over the entire area.  Two weeks ago k saw two gentlemen walking across my yard and pointing in that direction. They stopped at my pump for a moment then started back toward the street.  I met them outside and they informed me the placed a tag on my pump telling me not to irrigate for five days.  They had sprayed the Lilly pads because they are an invasive species. Not sure how they knew they were there but they were I  here several times this summer for permitting so maybe they were noted then.

Name:   ChrisCraft - Email Member Reply
Subject:   water quality / algae?
Date:   9/24/2016 3:07:22 AM   IP ADDRESS:

I thoughly agree with Samdog.....glad this topic was brought up. Been here since '67 and know the REAL reason for it all but will not go into that here. We need a few years of "norrmal" rainfall to help. But....reality is that the best is gone. LM will never be like it once was. We all have to just go with it.


Name:   lakngulf - Email Member Reply
Subject:   water quality / algae?
Date:   9/24/2016 8:19:49 PM   IP ADDRESS:

So are you saying development, and can't go back on that?  What is normal rainfall? 

Name:   luv2fish - Email Member Reply
Subject:   water quality / algae?
Date:   10/12/2016 2:37:28 PM   IP ADDRESS:

I am a water quality monitor/trainer/board member for Alabama Water Watch and work at Auburn University as an Environmental Safety and Health professional where water is part of my passion. I spend most of my time advocating for clean water in the state,

It's a combination of things. Most of it can be attributed to non-point source runoff such as increased nutrient load from fertilizers but it can also be affected by leaching septic systems and agriculture/pooer land use upstream. As sunlight penetrates the surface water column algae begins to grow and multiply due to the nutrients and zooplankton feed on the algae. The Tallapoosa River is by far the cleanest river system in Alabama. Our water quality monitoring data shows this to be true. However there will be spikes during the summer and increased turbity during the winter due to heavy rain in combination with the drawdown. Exposed clay banks in the upper to mid reaches of the lake cause water to "muddy" up during this time. Substandard land use applications along tributaries and upriver contribute to the issue as well.

One significant contribution from the increased nutrient is increased forage for baitfish and the entire food chain of Lake Martin. I do believe this will continue with spikes year over year.


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