MANHATTAN (KSNT) – The problem at Milford Lake is blue green algae which can become toxic. When it does, the state warns people to stay out of the water and that’s hurting the business which depends on those tourists. Much of the problem starts in small creeks like this.
“It’s important to understand the function of the streams and controlling nutrients input into the entire water shed, which end up on the lake eventually and causes water quality problems.” K-state professor Walter Dodds is studying streams around the world and says combating the algae problem begins with understanding why the algae grows the way it does.
One of the things that researchers are trying to find out is how to control the nutrients that the blue green algae feed off of. Is it as simple as having brush around the stream or not having any at all?
Algae growth is dependent on temperature, wind and nutrients. “The temperature and the wind are more difficult for us to control in the short term, but the nutrients are something that we can do something about because they are related to what happens when the water sheds,” says Walter Dodds, University Distinguished Professor of Biology.
Dodds’ research could one day help the state help the communities surrounding Milford Lake.
Meanwhile the Kansas Department of Health and Environment is trying to work with local farmers.
“We do projects with them to prevent that nutrient run off that just naturally occurs,” says Ashton Rucker, Public Information Officer for Environmental Programs at KDHE.
Dodds research is still years from being complete, but the information it gathers could one day help control blue-green algae statewide.
Community leaders tell us they’re glad to see the research being done but are still looking for someone with the state to tell them what to do about the upcoming tourist season.