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Longboat Key Wednesday, Mar. 10, 2010 7 years ago

Algae growth blooms in Grand Bay pond

by: Robin Hartill Managing Editor

From their breakfast table in their condominium, Ruth and Alan Ades have always enjoyed watching the jumping fish and birds that gathered around the pond, which is only visible from certain units at Grand Bay.

To Grand Bay residents, the pond is known as “Hidden Pond.”

But, recently, the pond has become overgrown with algae, and residents aren’t seeing the fish and wildlife to which they have become accustomed. The surrounding ponds haven’t developed algae growth.

“Unfortunately, this season we have observed growing patches of algae that have almost completely covered the pond so that few, if any, birds or fish are now seen there,” Ades said.

John Riley, director of agronomy at the Longboat Key Club, said that he has been aware of the algae growth in the “hidden pond” and in another pond for approximately two-and-a-half weeks. According to
Riley, the Key Club hires the firm of Aquatic Systems, which uses dye on ponds in the golf course to prevent algae blooms. The dye decreases the sunlight to the bottom of the pond, which is where algae grows. When algae blooms, it becomes visible from the top of the pond. But the hidden pond has been especially shallow this year, when compared to other ponds on the golf course, meaning that sunlight can hit the bottom of the pond, allowing algae to grow.

“It’s too shallow for the dye to work,” Riley said.

Riley said that preventing algae growth requires a balancing act of consideration of environmental impact and aesthetics. He said that because dye has not been effective, a chemical approach involving herbicides and algaecides could be necessary. However, Riley said that Sonar, an algaecide that is especially effective, can’t be used until water temperatures are warmer.

The good news, according to Riley, is that the algae isn’t related to chemical runoff, and no fish kills have been reported.

Ades said that he and his wife are pleased to hear that the Key Club is taking care of the situation.

“We hope they will be successful and look forward to again seeing the fish and the dozens of birds that used to visit there each morning,” he said.

Contact Robin Hartill at [email protected].

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