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Case Studies
Water Management Associations
Floating Booms to Prevent Blue-Green Algal Scums and Other Floating Debris From Fouling Madison Area Swimming Beaches
Excessive growths or “blooms” of blue-green algae commonly occur during the summer months in the nutrient-rich Yahara lakes. Such blooms are a serious health concern to humans and wildlife because certain species of blue-green algae can produce neurotoxins, skin toxins, and/or heptatotoxins leading to symptoms such as: liver and kidney lesions; and gastro intestinal, muscular, and respiratory symptoms including seizures and respiratory arrest.

While the ultimate solution to blue-green algal blooms in the Yahara lakes is reducing the level of nutrients that fuel algae growth –efforts that are the centerpiece of past and ongoing watershed management programs–this pilot -scale project tested whether more limited measures could prevent scums and other floating debris from fouling public swimming beaches. To that end, experimental boom systems designed to prevent this fouling were deployed on lakes Mendota and Monona during the summers of 2010-2012.

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