Cyanobacteria | New Hampshire Public Radio

Cyanobacteria

Annie Ropeik / NHPR file

A new federal water permit is out for a state fish hatchery in New Durham that's accused, in a federal lawsuit, of polluting waters that feed into Lake Winnipesaukee.

The long-awaited permit could prompt costly upgrades at the Powder Mill Fish Hatchery, the state’s largest, in the next several years.

Cori Princell / NHPR

The state is out with a first-of-its-kind report on the health of New Hampshire’s lakes, showing the effects of climate change, population growth and a decline in acid rain.

The report takes a comprehensive look at water quality trends from the past few decades or longer in 150 of the state’s lakes and ponds monitored by volunteers and state biologists.

NH State Parks

The state will not conduct some routine sampling of inland beaches this summer due the pandemic.

The Department of Environmental Services says they’ll focus on monitoring and responding to blooms of toxic algae at freshwater shores this season.

They will not regularly sample those beaches for fecal bacteria as they have in other years.

They say their lab capacity and other logistics have been hampered by the coronavirus.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR file

UPDATE: The draft permit was issued Dec. 31 and is open for public comment until Feb. 14, 2020. Click here for details. Original story continues below: 

A state fish hatchery facing a federal water pollution lawsuit will soon receive a key new permit from the Environmental Protection Agency.

The suit comes from neighbors of the state's largest fish hatchery, Powder Mill in New Durham.

N.H. DES courtesy

State beach monitors say they're still observing cyanobacteria blooms on New Hampshire's lakes and ponds, even this late in the year.

Blooms have been seen recently on shorelines in on Country Pond Newton and on Webster Lake Franklin. They appear as green or blue streaks, flecks and pond scum, caused by excess nutrients in the water.

Cyanobacteria can contain toxins that can sicken or harm humans and pets on contact and can lead to serious chronic conditions.

An environmental group is suing the state Fish & Game Department for alleged pollution from a Lakes Region fish hatchery.

Meanwhile, the department’s executive director says they suit won’t affect their ongoing work to fix the problem.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

New Durham residents are frustrated by what they call slow progress in fixing pollution at the state’s largest fish hatchery.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

State lawmakers are asking questions about a pending pollution lawsuit in the Lakes Region.

They'll hold a public meeting in New Durham Thursday to discuss allegations against the state's largest fish hatchery. 

The Conservation Law Foundation is preparing to sue the state Fish & Game Department on behalf of local residents.

Britta Greene

Every summer morning, Midge Eliassen has the same routine. She walks out her back door, down the steps, and onto her dock on Lake Sunapee.

There, she pulls out a plankton net and takes a sample from the water, shipping off the results to be analyzed in a lab at Dartmouth College.

She’s been doing this, rain or shine, for 12 years. “I get a chance to look at the world and see what the lake looks like each day, which I really love,” she said. 

Editor's Note: We strongly recommend listening to this story.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

New Hampshire’s Department of Fish & Game is facing a potential lawsuit over water pollution from its largest fish hatchery.

The Conservation Law Foundation told the state Thursday it plans to file a Clean Water Act lawsuit this fall, unless the state begins working to fix the alleged problems within 60 days.

The Powder Mill hatchery in New Durham grows trout and salmon to stock state fishing areas, and it’s expanded in the past decade or so.

New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services

A team of researchers is sampling lakes across the Northeast this week as part of efforts to better understand what’s causing cyanobacteria blooms.

The blooms have become common in other parts of the country, including the Midwest, and are starting to pop up locally in New Hampshire and surrounding states. Scientists are unsure what’s driving the change.

NHPR Staff

The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services is warning those who visit a park in Hopkinton of a bloom of cyanobacteria that might produce health concerns.

The department released the advisory about a bloom at the Elm Brook Park Beach on Tuesday. It says people and pets should avoid contact with the water in places where the lake has surface scum or green streaks.

New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services

It’s now common for the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services to issue advisories each summer, warning swimmers of bacterial blooms along Northeastern beaches.

Cyanobacteria, which is also known as blue-green algae, has become prevalent throughout the Northeast. Now researchers from Dartmouth, University of New Hampshire, and the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies are collaborating with the Lake Sunapee Protective Association to find out why.

Wikimedia Commons

The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services says it is seeing an increase of dangerous levels of cyanobacteria in some lakes and ponds.

The most recent advisories include French and Keyser ponds in Henniker, Sebbins Pond in Bedford and Lee's Pond in Moultonborough. Warnings have been posted at sites affected by the bacteria and also at public beaches with advisories for fecal contamination, such as Opechee Park Cove Beach in Laconia. Conditions include surface scums, or streaks, or blue-green flecks in the water.

Something Wild: Cyanobacteria

Jul 7, 2017
Courtesy DES

To everything there is a season and this is the season when we go swimming and we spend a lot of time talking about Cyanobacteria. So what is it, exactly? we spoke with Sonya Carlson in 2016 when she was the head of the Beach Inspection Program with the state Department of Environmental Services and gave us a primer on the micro-organism.

USGS website

Cyanobacteria advisories are in place at Elm Brook Park beach in Hopkinton and Silver Lake State Park Beach in Hollis. 

State officials are urging visitors to stay out of the water if they observe blue-green scum or clumps suspended in the water column. Cyanobacteria can be toxic to both humans and dogs. 

Something Wild: Cyanobacteria

Jul 15, 2016
Courtesy DES

To everything there is a season and this is the season when we go swimming and we spend a lot of time talking about Cyanobacteria. So what is it, exactly? Sonya Carlson is head of the Beach Inspection Program with the state Department of Environmental Services and gave us a primer on the micro-organism.