Lake Anna Connections

by Irene Luck F or over 40 years, Lake Anna has been a nearly pristine jewel in the Common- wealth’s crown, except for a major hy- drilla outbreak in the early 1990s and a fish consumption advisory due to heavy metals that was issued about a decade ago. The jewel is sparkling a little less brightly right now, however, as harmful algae blooms (HABs) have reared their ugly heads over the past two years and are causing conster- nation among lake users. Numerous species of algae occur naturally in the lake as they do in all fresh and marine water bodies. Phytoplankton, a small free- floating water plant, is considered the bottom of the food chain. It not only serves as a source of food for fish, but it also helps oxygenate the water. A similar species, cyanobacteria, also exists in the lake and is often referred to as “blue-green algae.” Both types can create algal blooms, the rapid growth and build up of phytoplankton in an environment. Most algal blooms are non-toxic and are natural occurrences trig- gered by increased water temperature and an abundance of sunlight. Lake Anna Deals with Harmful Algae Blooms WWW.LAKEANNACONNECTIONS.COM 90