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Council to discuss plans to combat Pinto Lake algae

Posted: Monday, Oct 8th, 2012

Donald Jones of Felton works the waters of Pinto Lake with his tackle from a Porta-Bote in 2009. (File photo by Tarmo Hannula/Register-Pajaronian).

WATSONVILLE — The Watsonville City Council will look at the current state of health concerns at Pinto Lake tonight and determine a plan to begin combating the toxic algae that bloom in the lake.

During the late spring, summer and fall months, heavy blooms of blue green algae, known as cyanobacteria, emerge in Pinto Lake. These blooms produce toxins that are harmful to people and animals, causing skin rashes, nausea, diarrhea and liver and kidney damage.

According to a report by city staff, a recent scientific paper showed that 21 southern sea otters in Monterey Bay died from exposure to cyanobacteria toxins, and Pinto Lake was identified as the possible source of those toxins.

Elevated nutrients spark the growth of the algae, which likely come from fertilizer use from agriculture fields and septic systems.

Currently, when toxin levels exceed one part per billion, warning signs are posted along the lake.

A long-term management plan to deal with this problem is needed, said Robert Ketley, a water quality specialist with Watsonville’s public works department.

The council will decide tonight on a direction to “figuring out how to deal with this issue and all the associated problems that come with the ecosystem out of tilt,” Ketley said.

For the complete article see the 10-09-2012 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 10-09-2012 paper.

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Keywords: pinto lake, cyanobacteria, watsonville city council

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