Below are some articles about public health issues related to geese.
Information on Effects of High Capacity Wells
- Little Plover River Study
- Aug 10,2015 Letter to Senator Cowles
- Golden Sands Resolution
- Presentation of Hi Cap Wells in our Area
- 'Friends of the Central Sands' website
- Hi Cap Wells Possibly Lowering Lake Levels (Wis. State Journal, July 22,2013)
- 'Not Standing Still: The Degradation of Wis Waters' (Friends of the Central Sands) – YouTube video
- 'Water War Pits Wis. Farms against Fish' (Wisconsin Watch.org)
Lawn Fertilizer Regulations and Recommendations
The Town of Rome is committed to improving the water quality of the lakes and streams within our boundaries. To support this commitment the 14 Mile Joint Watershed Committee has prepared the following brochure which describes expectations and best practices regarding the use of lawn fertilizer in our lakes area.
Downloadable information on Phosphorus and Algae
To report possible blue-green algae, contact Kason Morley (Adams Co Land and Water) at 608-339-4275
If you get sick after swimming in a Wisconsin lake or river, please report possible algae-related illness; call 608-266-1120 (State of Wis Dept of Health) or call 608-339-4379 (Adams County Dept of Health) or fill out a report online at http://dhs.wi.gov/eh/bluegreenalgae
This program does not provide medical treatment, so if you are experiencing severe symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.
At various times over the last several years, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has confirmed the presence of blue-green algae in Lake Petenwell, Castle Rock Lake, Lake Sherwood, Lake Camelot, and Lake Arrowhead in Adams County. Illnesses in humans and animals potentially related to blue-green algae in these lakes have been reported as well.
Health Risks of Contact With Blue-Green Algae
“Swimming in or swallowing water with high levels of blue-green algae presents health risks to individuals,” says Sarah Grosshuesch, Adams County Health Officer. “Awareness and common sense is the key. People and their pets should avoid swimming where water looks like pea soup or smells foul.” All recreation swimmers and boaters are warned to avoid direct contact with the affected lake areas.
Algae blooms take on many different appearances and colors. They can look like pea soup or spilled paint on the surface of the water. Although the color is usually blue-green the algae blooms can range from blue to red in color. There is currently no treatment for blue-green algae blooms so it is best to stay out of the water until the bloom dissipates on its own. Although many adults will avoid swimming in such conditions, children and pets are less conscious of where they chose to swim. It is important to protect children and pets from the threat of blue-green algae by making sure they avoid contaminated waters.
According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), adverse human health effects include difficulty breathing, stomach and intestinal issues such as vomiting and diarrhea, skin irritation, loss of appetite, nausea, or numbness or tingling of the hands and/or feet. These symptoms can show up minutes to hours after exposure. Pets, especially dogs, can experience symptoms such as fatigue, difficulty breathing, vomiting, convulsions, and even death following exposure to blue-green algae. Health officials recommend if you or your pets have been exposed to blue-green algae and are experiencing any of these symptoms to seek medical or veterinary attention.
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources offers tips to protect you and your family:
- Do not swim in water that looks like “pea soup”, green or blue paint, or that has a scum layer or puffy blobs floating on the surface
- Do not boat, water ski, etc. over such water (people can be exposed through inhalation of aerosolized water droplets)
- Do not let children play with scum layers, even from shore
- Do not let pets or livestock swim in, or drink, waters experiencing blue-green algae blooms
- Do not treat surface waters that are experiencing blue-green algae blooms with any herbicide or algaecide– toxins are released into the water when blue-green algae cells die
- In general, avoid swimming in areas where you cannot see your feet in knee-deep water
- Always take a shower after coming into contact with any surface water (whether or not a blue-green algae bloom appears to be present; surface waters may contain other species of potentially harmful bacteria and viruses)
If you think you, a family member, or pet developed an illness after exposure to blue-green algae, please report the illness to the Wisconsin Division of Public Health by filling out an online survey HERE or calling (608) 266-1120.
Examples of Blue-Green Algae
Algae Reaction Symptoms
Algae Reaction Symptoms Mimic Common Problems
By Reesa Evan, Lake Specialist Adams County Land & Water Conservation Department
Did you go swimming and start coughing a couple of hours later? Go waterskiing, jet-skiing or tubing and feel a little tired? Go boating and feel nauseated? All of these symptoms could be just an everyday thing – or they could be symptoms of contact with potentially-toxic blue-green algae. Many people don’t realize they are having such a reaction because the symptoms mimic common problems.
Blue-green algae are ordinary and necessary for our lakes, streams and rivers. However, some blue-green algae (also called cyanobacteria) can become toxic and cause many symptoms (even death in extreme instances) to both humans and animals. Exposure can occur through skin contact, inhalation (breathing in) and/or ingestion (swallowing).
The State of Wisconsin has started a program to try to track negative consequences of contacts with algae. If you think you or others (including pets) have symptoms from such contact, you should call 608-266-1120 or fill out a report online HERE. You will be contacted shortly by someone from the program to get details and schedule further action.
The most common potentially-toxic types in Wisconsin are Anabena, Aphanizomenon, Microcystis and Oscillatoria. The first three are often “Annie, Fannie and Mike”. Common symptoms caused by exposure to these bacteria are:
- Skin irritations such as rashes or hives
- General body reactions such as fever, diarrhea, coughing, general throat irritation, runny nose,
vomiting, nausea, headache, muscle/joint pain
- In severe cases, convulsions/seizures, paralysis, respiratory failure, even death
To avoid these problems, use common sense:
- If the water looks scummy, has a large mat of gunk or otherwise looks iffy, avoid contact
- Don’t let children or pets play in shallow, scummy areas or where algae blooms are present
- Avoid jet-skiing, waterskiing or tubing over mats of algae
- Don’t use raw, untreated water for drinking, cleaning food or washing gear
- Don’t boil contaminated water, as this may release more toxins from the algae
- After family members come into contact with water that may be contaminated. Wash
thoroughly, especially in areas covered by swimsuits (which may concentrate the algae)
- Thoroughly wash any clothing or fabric that has come into contact with the water
- If your pet or livestock come into contact with such water, wash the coat to prevent the animal
from taking potentially-toxic algae in while self-cleaning
WHEN IN DOUBT, STAY OUT!
- Why Restore Your Shoreline?
- Shoreland Zoning Fact Sheet
- Adams County Shoreland Zoning Ordinance
- Resources for Shoreline Projects
- Link to Resources for Waterfront Property Owners – Wisconsin DNR
- Native Plant Choices
- Link to Lakescaping and Shoreland Restoration – Minnesota DNR
- Link to Shoreland Restoration – UW-Extension
- Love Your Lakeshore
What Affects Water Quality?
Nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen come from sediments (eroded soil), manure, pet wastes, improperly maintained septic systems, fertilizers, grass clippings and leaves.
Phosphorus, whether from natural sources or commercial fertilizers, is plant food. Too much phosphorus in our lakes causes excessive aquatic plant growth and algae blooms (when lakes turn green).
Excess algae can reduce desirable bottom-rooted plants by blocking sunlight. When algae, plants and other organic materials decay at the bottom of lakes, oxygen is depleted in the water, making it difficult for fish and other aquatic life to survive. Reduced oxygen levels also contribute to winter fish kills in shallow lakes.
Phosphorus provides the fuel algae need to transform lakes into a thick, smelly green soup. Where it takes 20 parts per million of soil phosphorus to grow healthy turf, 25 parts per billion (a quantity 1,000 times smaller) can promote excessive algae growth in lakes. One pound of phosphorus can support 500 pounds of algae.
Most Wisconsin lawns and soils already contain adequate – and often excessive – amounts of phosphorus. Although the amount of phosphorus in Wisconsin soils can vary, many residential lawns already have more than enough phosphorus to support a healthy lawn. Because plants do not absorb more fertilizer than they can use, your lawn does not benefit from phosphorus fertilizer if there is already a sufficient amount of phosphorus in the soil. Healthy lawns can be maintained with phosphorus-free fertilizers.
A healthy lawn needs 20 parts per million (ppm) of phosphorus. The UW Soils Lab data finds agricultural soils in every Wisconsin county are above 20 (average is 53 ppm). Recent data estimates phosphorus levels on residential Wisconsin lawns have, on average, twice the amount of phosphorus (105 ppm) than the average farm field; five times more than necessary for healthy lawns.
Phosphorus-free fertilizers are available at a comparable cost to phosphorus fertilizers. (Locally, Ace Hardware and Green’s Garden and Lawn Center carry phosphorus-free fertilizer; additionally Stay-Green Sprinkler Systems is a lawn service that uses it.) The amount of Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potash in a bag of fertilizer is shown by a series of three numbers on the package. The middle number indicates the amount of phosphorus the fertilizer contains. Look for the middle number of “0” to be sure you are buying phosphorus-free fertilizer.
Others steps you can take to help protect our lakes:
- Respect the shoreline – no fertilizer or mowing within a 35-foot buffer zone
- Install barley straw bags under your pier or along your shoreline
- Use rain barrels, rain gardens and porous materials for driveways, patios and parking areas. Direct gutter spouts onto your lawn or landscaping (ideally a rain garden), not onto hard surfaces
- Inspect and pump your septic system on a regular basis (at least once every three years)
Citizen Monitoring Program
The Adams County Land & Water Conservation Department (LWCD) is working with the Tri-Lakes Management District, the Lake Arrowhead Association, the Lake Sherwood Property Owners Association, and the Lake Camelot Property Owners Association to conduct citizen monitoring programs on each of the lakes in the Tri-Lakes area.
From 2004-2006, the Adams County LWCD gathered up-to-date information on water quality, aquatic plants, and presence of invasive species (as well as other information) on the Tri-Lakes to assess the current situation on all four lakes. Since then, LWCD has established groups of citizens on each lake to continue monitoring the lakes.
There is no out-of-pocket costs for the citizens—just their interest and time. Standard testing costs are paid by Tri-Lakes through a grant from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Equipment is provided by the WDNR or the Adams County LWCD. LWCD personnel will train and guide the new monitors to get them started.
Tests are scheduled once a month from May through October.
If you are interested in helping with this effort on your lake or would like further information, you can contact Phil Rockenbach by email at [email protected].