One summer I spent Fourth of July at the house of my family friend, Brigitte, tucked away in the rural woods on a small lake. I spent the day kayaking on the lake and enjoying the evening with Brigitte who has become family to me. While kayaking I noticed the water was different. Brigitte told me this was because blue green algae—scientifically known as cyanobacteria—was starting to become an issue at their lake due to heavy fertilizer use on her neighbors’ backyards who had cut down their trees in favor of grass lawns sloping toward the lake. Brigitte taught me that lakes were a lot like human bodies in that they needed to maintain healthy levels of bacteria for the well-being of the ecosystem. Too much cyanobacteria or algae could lead to disastrous effects.
Brigitte has been trying to implement changes with her local neighborhood association in order to keep algae levels in check to no avail. No one was listening.
Hopefully this video sheds some light on the issue of algae blooms and on one natural solution: Brigitte’s small but mighty friends, water fleas (daphnia).
“Lady Daphnia's World.” For Love of Lakes, by Darby Nelson, Michigan State University Press, 2012, pp. 72–80.