By James Goodman
Democrat and Chronicle
April 28, 2004
Doing something about algae at Ontario Beach has taken
a back seat to trying to prevent the Asian carp from getting
into the Great Lakes.
For five years, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been
working with Monroe County to look at ways to control
the algae at Ontario Beach. About $1million in federal
funds has already been spent looking for remedies. But
the project is on hold.
We dont have the money for it at this moment,
said Corps of Engineers spokesman Pat Jones, who is based
Its not known when the $100,000 or less needed
to complete the feasibility work might be available, said
Mike Smith, the Corps manager for this project.
Funds for this and other activities related to habitat
restoration have been diverted for a project to prevent
the Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes.
Asian carp, which escaped into the Mississippi River
from Southern aquaculture facilities in the early 1990s,
could have devastating effects. The fish, which can grow
to more than 100 pounds, competes for food with sport
and commercial fish.
The buildup of algae typically microscopic green
plants that, upon decay, breed bacteria and emit a foul
smell is one of the reasons for closing Ontario
Beach to swimming, which happened 25 days last year. The
beach opens June 19 this year.
Once the feasibility work is done and an option for algae
control is selected, it would take about two years to
implement the remedy, said Mark Ballerstein, engineering
operations manager for the county.
However, theres no certainty that funds would be
available. The federal government would be expected to
pay 75 percent of the cost; the county would be responsible
for the rest.
Although algae is a lake-wide problem, it is particularly
pronounced at Ontario Beach because the nearby pier
2,200 feet long traps the algae.
The two most likely options would be pumping the algae
under the pier or to the end of the pier, said Ballerstein.
The algae then would be dispersed by eastward currents.