USRowing event expected to produce financial gains!
By Megan Alley
The 2015 USRowing Club National Championships will go ahead as scheduled, now that the threat of toxins from harmful algal blooms has subsided.
“There were some microcystin hits on June 17, but since the rain, we’ve seen a crash in the number of cyanobacteria present in the lake,” said Hannah Lubers, project manager for Clermont County’s Office of Environmental Quality in an email.
HABs, also known as blue green algae, are made up of cyanobacteria that contain chlorophyll and perform photosynthesis. They are known to release toxins that can attack the skin, liver and nervous system in humans and animals.
When the levels of microcystin, a class of toxins produced by certain freshwater cyanobacteria, reach six parts per billion, a recreational public health advisory is given. When levels reach 20 ppb, which can cause human illness and pet death, a No Contact Advisory is issued.
Recent water samples taken from the park’s campground beach showed a low detection of microcystin, according to Lubers.
“We’re not seeing as much as in the past,” she said.
Mark Calitri, president of the Clermont County Convention and Visitors Bureau, said he doesn’t anticipate the HABs to have any effect on the event.
“Even when levels were the highest they’ve ever been, those were samples taken from other places in the watershed, and not at the main beach area,” said Calitri. “Plus, the peak season [for HABs] has passed.”
HABs thrive in warm, calm water with lots of sunlight. They also need access to nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorus, which come from the runoff carrying fertilizer applications from farms and lawns.
While recent rains have weakened the threat of toxins given off by harmful algal blooms, Lubers said there could be increased toxin levels later this summer.
“The rains washed a lot of fertilizer into the lake, so we might see some blooms as the weather warms up,” she added.
The 2015 USRowing Club National Championships are set to be held July 15-19 on Harsha Lake in East Fork State Park.