The Department of Administration’s Wisconsin Coastal Management Program has awarded the Mary Griggs Burke Center for Freshwater Innovation $59,667 to implement Phase 2 of their research investigating the potential sources of cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) to Chequamegon Bay.
The Burke Center researchers started their investigation a year ago (also with Wisconsin Coastal Management funding) to learn more about blue-green algae blooms in Chequamegon Bay.
Blue-green algae blooms occurred in 2012 and 2018 along the south shore of Lake Superior stretching between Superior, Wis., and the Apostle Islands region, but blooms have not yet occurred in Chequamegon Bay.
The Burke Center has documented over the last five years that Chequamegon Bay has relatively warm summer water temperatures and high phosphorus loading. “These conditions suggest that the bay may be particularly vulnerable to algal blooms,” said water scientist Matt Hudson.
The Burke Center research is trying to determine what sources of blue-green algae are in the bay, and what conditions would have to occur for a bloom to happen.
“We hope the results of this research will provide the needed information to assist resource managers, local governments and public health professionals in responding to the risk of potentially harmful blooms. The information gathered can also give decision-makers a framework by which to proactively respond,” Hudson said.
The Burke Center recommends that if anyone sees a bloom they should contact the DNR at DNRHABS@wisconsin.gov the bloom size, duration, and location with water body name, town name, and county name, and submit photos for verification including close-ups and overall views.