Commentary By: Albert Mascheroni
O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called – 1 Timothy 6:20
In other words, “Toxic Algae Bloom.” River turns blood red
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Article By: Joe Skurzewski
BURLINGTON, N.D. – Some Burlington-area residents say the Souris River is turning red. It sounds like something you’d find in the Bible — a river turning red — but, as it turns out, there is an explanation for what’s happening. State health officials say they believe they know what’s making the river look this way & they say there’s no serious threat to the public.Burlington-area resident Jon Dawson got quite a surprise this past week.
“As I’ve been working on fence up there, I’ve seen it up around the bend over there as well,” said Dawson, pointing to where he saw the red.
While working on his property near the Souris River, Dawson noticed a red tint on the water–& the color started to grow! That’s when he took some pictures & sent them to the North Dakota Department of Health.
“We didn’t call it in initially bc we weren’t quite sure what it was. Then it kinda started to look like a chemical, almost like oil floating on top, so we thought we’d call it in,” said Dawson.
There’s been lots of news of algal blooms across the state recently. Health Department officials said that, while the red looks like algae, it’s actually a microorganism called ‘euglena sanguinea.’ And it’s the 1st recorded instance of it on the Souris.
“It colonizes & grows, & can grow to the point where it achieves what we call bloom conditions, very dense. Characteristically floats on the surface & has a distinct red coloration to it,” said Mike Ell, w/the North Dakota Department of Health.
Health officials said they’re not quite sure why it’s growing, but it feeds off of high-nutrient water & possibly fertilizer runoffs.
“It almost looks like oil floating on top of the water, not what you would normally think of w/algae. In addition, it’s changed colors, actually. It’s been green & red, it’s mostly red,” said Dawson.
Ell said the organism does not pose any serious threat to the public, though it does emit a toxin that can be harmful to fish & mammals. Ell said that if you think you’ve noticed algae or a microorganism developing in the river, you can report it to the state health department as well. You can log on to http://www.ndhealth.gov, & in the search tab, type ‘harmful algal blooms.’ Then click on the 1st link ‘surface water’ to find the form to fill out.