Posted by: Vicki Burns | September 2, 2010

Algae Blooms Across the Continent – From California to Lake Winnipeg to Lake Ainslie in Nova Scotia

Over the last couple of years as I’ve been involved in work around the Lake Winnipeg Watershed, I’ve come to understand that the toxic algae blooms that are plaguing our great lake are becoming rampant across North America. In the past week I’ve been contacted by a staff from the California Dept. of Public Health requesting permission to use a photo of blue-green algae from Lake Winnipeg, in their pamphlet warning the public about the dangers of this algae.  When I responded to his enquiry and asked where it was occurring in California he listed a number of lakes.Just today I noticed this warning about algae in Lake Ainslie on Cape Breton in Nova Scotia. Coincidentally, I just returned from a vacation in Cape Breton and was struck by the incredible natural beauty of that part of Canada. 

image of water in the distance and peninsula in Cape Breton

View from hill top in Cape Breton


The bottom line is that there are ways we can stop the proliferation of these toxic algae blooms but it seems like its taking us too long to really get serious about making the necessary changes. I’d love to hear from anyone who has any information about significant initiatives to stop this growth in algae blooms in their area.
Surely with this being such a widespread problem, we can get together and use the synergy of our efforts to make real progress towards protecting our freshwater now and in the future.



  1. The Algae blooms are across Alberta too and from what I have been reading, they are sponsored by higher phosphate contents partly because of fertilizer drainage to the lake and partly because of surrounding cess pools that happen with new lake shore development.

    As Lake level drops, the phosphates become more concentrated. Once in the environment there seems to be no way of getting them out.

    In the early stages and in very small bodies of water, chlorine bleach will curtail the bloom and just about everything else.

  2. The solution to stop the algae blooms is the transition to a plant-based diet, which is healthy, economical and ecologically friendly. In Canada, only beef production increased 85% in the last 30 years. That means a tremendous amount of manure and fertilizer runs that end up in our water and land causing not only environmental problems but health problems as well. To produce on pound of animal protein, we need 13 pounds of plant-based protein. To maintain this diet we need more land, more fertilizers to reuse the same land, more water, more hormones and antibiotics, more transportation and cooling equipment, more doctors and more hospitals. This diet trend is killing humans from different aspects like no other weapon in the world. Many World health organizations state that the healthiest diet of all is the plant-based diet as it is adequate in protein, vitamins, minerals and other micronutrients that can stop, reverse and prevent many deadly health problems. The more animal product humans eat, the more addictive they become due to the sugar molecule in them.

    Nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet. -Albert Einstein

    “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” -Genesis 1:29

    “In that day the wolf and the lamb will lie down together, and the leopard and goats will be at peace. Calves and fat cattle will be safe among lions, and the little child shall lead them all. The cows will graze among bears; cubs and calves will lie down together, and lions will eat grass like the cows. . . Nothing will hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain, for as the waters fill the sea, so shall the earth be full of the knowledge of the Lord.” -Isaiah 11:6-10

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