Cyanobacteria Concerns – Sept 2023

A significant number of Cyanobacteria blooms have identified around the lake. Depending on the concentration of Cyanobacteria, it can be harmful to humans and pets.

Maine DEP suggests: When in doubt, stay out! If an area looks green or cloudy, smells bad, or has scum on the surface, or you can’t see the bottom in 4-5 feet of water because it is so green, do not swim in that area. Algal scums along the shore have the highest concentrations of toxins.

One of our board members, Stephanie Parker, an expert in aquatic ecology, has tested and confirmed the presence of Cyanobacteria. She reminds us that excessive stormwater runoff exacerbated, by heavy rains are a leading cause of algae bloom. See photos from Watchic Lake below.

Please do your bit by diverting stormwater runoff from the lake and avoiding the use of phosphorus based fertilizers.

To learn more about Cyanobacteria in Maine Lakes, and how to avoid it on Watchic Lake see Maine DEP Algal Blooms in Maine Lakes To learn more Cyanobacteria, its health affects, and how to avoid them, see Maine DEP Cyanobacteria (Blue-Green Algae), and the summary below.

Maine DEP: How can I Avoid Health Problems?
While most adults will avoid green discolored water, a hot day can lure children and pets into the water. The following list of recommendations will help you minimize risk to yourself, your family and pets.

  • Do not accidentally ingest or drink lake water during a bloom. Well maintained domestic water treatment systems may make lake water safe to drink by removing bacteria and parasites, but they are not guaranteed to remove algal toxins.
  • If you shower with lake water, keep showers brief because breathing toxins in shower mist could cause health issues.
  • Do not swim, water ski, or boat in areas where algae are visible (e.g., pea soup, floating mats, scum layers, etc.), where water is discolored, or where musty odors are present.
  • Rules of thumb: if you are standing in water chest deep (4-5 feet ) and you can’t see your toes because the water is so green, you should get out; if you are looking into water that is 4-5 feet deep and can’t see the bottom of the lake because the water is so green, you should not to go in.
  • Because algal scums along the shoreline have the highest concentrations of toxins, do not let children play in water that is discolored, where you see mats of algal material, foam, or where musty odors are present. Do not allow pets or livestock swim or drink water from these areas.
  • Rinse off with fresh water and soap if available, as soon as practical if exposed to water that has dense algae present. This will reduce skin exposure for humans and pets.