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Great Lakes Article:

Algae problem's solution delayed
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 don’t have the money for it at this moment,” said Corps of Engineers spokesman Pat Jones, who is based in Buffalo.

It’s 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, there’s 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.


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