A harmful algal bloom, or HAB, happens when the natural algae found in our waters receives too many nutrients and grows out of control. But not all algal blooms are harmful. They only become harmful to humans when the bloom consists of cyanobacteria, commonly known as blue-green algae. This particular algae produces cyanotoxins that cause skin and eye irritation or, when inhaled or ingested, cause flue-like symptoms. HAB’s can be very dangerous for swimmers and boaters. When particularly bad, HAB’s can require areas of water or entire lakes to be closed for public safety.
So what can you do? If you think you see a harmful algal bloom, don’t enter the water and report it as soon as possible. You can learn what a HAB looks like and report suspected HABs at hab.mt.gov.
You can also help to prevent HABs by ensuring your septic tank is working property, reducing fertilizer use, and never dumping anything into storm water runoff drains.
Post Series: Conservation Tip of the Week
- 1.Preventing Nonpoint Source Pollution
- 2.Heeling In Bareroot Plants
- 3.Conservation Finance Tips
- 4.Do-It-Yourself Herbicides
- 5.Managing Livestock for Riparian Areas
- 6.Reduce Boat Speed Near Shore
- 7.Reduce Mosquitoes with Bat Houses
- 8.Now is the Time to FireWise Your Property
- 9.Harmful Algal Bloom! What’s that?!?!
- 10.Lawn drying out? Water smarter, not longer.
- 12.Stink-Free Composting
- 13.Choosing the Right Cover Crop