Climate change stories are all around, and the Charleston newspapers missed another one in their reporting on the Sutton Lake blue-green algae blooms.
As per the Gazette-Mail June 29 story, biologist Steve Foster of the Huntington District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers identified the "scummy algae" from a portion of Sutton Lake as Anabaena, "a genus of filamentous cyanobacteria" (Wikipedia).
W. Holtcamp noted in Environmental Health Perspectives 2012 that, "The incidence of cyanobacterial blooms has increased worldwide and may grow even more widespread with warming climate."
As explained by T. Stecker in an April 2, 2013, Scientific American article concerning Lake Erie "blooms," climate change contributes to higher temperatures and to heavy rains that more effectively carry agricultural fertilizers into lakes, conditions which lake cyanobacteria find beneficial.
The unfortunate Bill Hunt's $40,000 loss on the Sutton Lake Marina exemplifies the economic costs of cyanobacterial blooms, which affect water sanitation, shipping and tourism.
As for the health effects of Anabaena, they are spectacularly awful.
EPA's Brian Milstead reports that one nerve toxin produced by Anabaena is BMAA.
BMAA has been associated with a bevy of degenerative neurological diseases, including Alzheimers, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and Parkinson's disease.
According to a story in the "Pacific Standard" of Jan, 5, 2012, "in New England, the rate of ALS doubles around lakes where cyanobacterial blooms have been reported. For people living around Lake Mascoma in New Hampshire, the prevalence of ALS was 10 to 25 times the normal rate".
No water facilities are known to test for BMAA, though it has been suggested it would be prudent to monitor BMAA concentrations in drinking water contaminated by cyanobacterial blooms.
The toxins can be removed with filtering, but at some economic cost to communities.
This story deserves to be developed in the pages of the Daily Mail and the Charleston Gazette.
Regan E. Quinn