Another algae bloom at Chris Greene Lake

Albemarle County has closed the beach to people and animals at Chris Greene Lake due to another harmful algae bloom. 

“People and dogs are prohibited from swimming in the lake until further notice,” reads a press release that went out on Wednesday. “Hiking trails and the dog park remain open, and boating is still permitted.:

This is the second such event in less than a year. Another harmful algae bloom shut down the water last October and Chris Greene Lake was reopened after tests showed reduced levels of the bacteria that cause the blooms to occur. 

Another bloom in June 2018 prompted the county to hire the firm SOLitude Lake Management to conduct a study of the lake’s chemistry to understand the source. Their work found that organic material has accumulated at the bottom of the lake since it was created in the 1970’s. Lower oxygen in warmer months releases phosphorus into the lake upon which the algae feeds.

“Algae are naturally-occurring microscopic organisms that are found in fresh and salt waters of Virginia and around the world,” reads the Virginia Department of Health’s website on harmful algae blooms. “Most algal blooms are not harmful but some do affect fish and humans, as well as other animals like birds and marine mammals.” 

Western portions of Lake Anna are also experiencing harmful algae blooms and an advisory was issued on July 15. The next report on that situation is expected on August 10. 

A page from Albemarle County’s Facilities and Environmental Services April 2021 report explains the chemical reasons for why Chris Greene Lake experiences harmful algae blooms (Credit: Albemarle County) 

Before you go: The time to write and research of this article is covered by paid subscribers to Charlottesville Community Engagement. In fact, this particular installment comes from the July 29, 2022 edition of the program. To ensure this research can be sustained, please consider becoming a paid subscriber or contributing monthly through Patreon.

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