Wednesday, 28 July 2021

Hall: Humans impact Clear Lake

I’m not a Democrat or a Republican, but I did pay attention to high school biology, and so when I read the LCN’s recent “Lady Of The Lake” article on Clear Lake algae and cyanobacteria, I nearly spat out my coffee.

She says “people can’t do much about the temperature of the water.” Wait what? Has she stepped outside lately? Local temperatures — which affect the Clear Lake water — are off the charts in a record breaking drought, and yes, people are partly the cause. I learned in sixth grade that carbon from humans burning fossil fuels is accelerating a trend of rising temperatures. It’s called global warming.

She also says cyanobacteria and algae get worse from nitrogen and phosphorus. What are those? Sixth grade biology again: nitrogen and phosphorus are pollution from agriculture.

Clear Lake is naturally shallow, nutrient dense and vulnerable to ambient temperature. That won’t change. But pollution from humans does make algae and bacteria growth — and the bad smell — worse. Exactly how much worse? Nobody has paid to do that research, or find out how much it would cost to support a healthier ecological balance.

The human impact on Clear Lake is long term, but real. And some of us aren’t just thinking about next weekend’s barbecue. If we care about children and grandchildren and great grandchildren enjoying Clear Lake, we had better start planning long term for the future. And yes, human pollution — and choices — make a difference.

The sooner we get started — and remember our high school biology — the better.

Will Hall lives in Kelseyville, California.

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