Blooming and Bold

Without the buzzards and bees

Where would we bee?

A blog by Nicolle Kuna

A blog about sustainable landscaping and some eco-humour and eco-creativity.

Inside this blog we look at everything that is encroaching in to our natural urban landscapes – outdoor rooms (errchkem), weeds, urban noise, excess nutrientsThere’s a bit of art to add extra colour and inspiration. We believe in making sustainability fun - more gaming, less shaming.

Also see website on social marketing for greenies

To contact us – go to the contact us page as the contact facility on this blog has been giving us mischief.

Attribution for above garden design goes to

Andrew Jones, talented artist and designer.

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Saturday, 15 December 2012

River, acquatic health tips and links - not all nutrients are good!

And it is another blooming hot day, however, am glad to say I heard some good news on the smelly rivers and stinky inlet front.  I shall backtrack for a moment.  I was down at Barwon Heads for our annual summer jaunt in January, and I noticed a smell in the inlet as I was swimming in my favourite spot, where many of the Sea Change TV scenes were filmed.  There was a smell I had never noticed before at the Heads, which made me want to clamber out of the water 'tout de suite'.  Later my suspicions were confirmed that algal blooms were posing a huge problem in the area, and these were probably the cause of the smell. These blooms create a green tinge on the surface of our waterways, and a gasey odour. They are caused by high levels of nutrients and other 'nasties' seeping in to the rivers and acquatic systems.When untreated sewerage gets in to drains or when loads of sediment flows in to our rivers, or when we feed our gardens with phoshorus and nitrogent rich fertilisers these materials seep in to our ground-water and active river systems and cause a chemical imbalance.

Fish get poisoned by the toxicity of the water, oxygen levels drop, the waterways become a no-go zone, and people and pets swimming (unaware of the risks) in these systems can come down with cyanobacteria poisoning, too.  Entire seafood, fishing and tourism industries get affected by these blooms.

Am seeing reports of these outbreaks in New Zealand, the UK, the USA, Canada, and no doubt other places I've not yet stumbled across.

The great news is that scientists at the CSIRO in Australia are coming up with antidotes to the formation of these blue green algae, and one of these is Phoslock, a type of clay which stops the release of the nutrients. I heard on the radio today that this substance is being distributed in around 20 countries already.  The other good green news about these green (and often red or pink) blooms, is that not all algal blooms are harmful.

Here is a link to the wonderful CSIRO's discussion on point.

Footage of our beaches turning red from algal blooms.

Some more video links: (funny - mostly - educational video)

In the meantime, what can we do to minimise these blooms:

(1) fertilise our lawns, gardens and productive plots with organic, low nutrient fertilisers.
(2) use low phosphate laundry powders and detergents as sewerage run-off to seas and waterways does commonly occur
(3) take care with our pets toilet habits (pick up after them)
(4) instal rain gardens or encourage our councils to do this
(5) farming regulations need to be rigorously enforced and buffer zones be created around waterways to ensure ruminant animals don't do their 'business' around rivers and creeks

1 comment:

  1. Here is another link - Tasmania affected seriously. (For those readers not from Australia, Tasmania is the land mass off the mainland of Aust on the south eastern side. I am seeing news reports literally all over Australia about algal blooms. Time to push some of the larger environmental groups on this issue!