Popularity of Pigeon Lake partly blamed for recent problems
Published Monday, July 30, 2012 7:32PM MDT
Days after a blue-green algae advisory was issued for the popular destination for Edmontonians – officials are pinning at least part of the blame on an influx of human activity in the area over the years.
“It’s pretty disheartening, growing up here as a kid, and seeing the way it’s gone,” Long-time Pigeon Lake resident Ian Kopp said.
Kopp, and the thousands who spend time around the lake have seen hundreds of dead fish floating on the surface, and washing up on shore.
That, in addition to the toxic algae blooms keeping many out of the water has made for a rough summer season so far.
Despite the warnings, some have learned the hard way the symptoms that await those who ignore the algae advisory.
“My kids went in swimming, and the next morning they had a rash and they got diarrhea, they were throwing up and they were really sick for a whole week,” Karrie Lull said.
The province said the issues at Pigeon Lake are complicated, and the hot summer is helping the naturally occurring blue-green algae spread more than normal.
The dying fish population has been chalked up to warm water and a lack of oxygen – which they’re attributing to boating on the lake, and fertilizing in the area.
“There are more people using the lake, and more people living on the lake,” Alberta Health Services Senior Officer of Health Dr. Gerry Predy said. “So there are more nutrients in there from human activities.”
Pigeon Lake is not the only lake under a blue-green algae advisory, a total of seven lakes in Alberta is under a similar warning.
Alberta Environment said the algae blooms can be killed with chemicals, but there are no plans to take such measures at Pigeon Lake.
With files from Sean Amato