A year ago I wrote a letter to the editor saying that “many of us seniors remember swimming in Owasco Lake back in the '30s and '40s when the water was crystal clear! We could actually see the bottom of the lake no matter where on the lake we spent our summers. And the water that came into the camps was safe to drink ... no chemicals needed in order to drink it!”
Given the recent growth of the algae problem into all the Finger Lakes, we're beginning to see that there's a lot of attention (finally) being given to what might be the implementation of the best management plan to protecting our water quality. But wait! There's more to be said about the problem.
What appears to be missing is what the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) cites as “important to any management plan.” In their article entitled: “Estimated Animal Agriculture Nitrogen and Phosphorus from Manure” (Go to: https://www.epa.gov/nutrient-policy-data/estimated-animal-agriculture-nitrogen-and-phosphorus-manure), it states that “when dairy-farm-manure is involved, implementing the best practices outlined in any management plan must also include manure in protecting water quality.”
The interested reader might want to also go to the U. S. Department of Agriculture's website (https://www.nal.usda.gov/waic/dairy-farm-manure-management) that deals with farm manure management because their site shows several 2017 studies that deal specifically with the major dire effects manure has on water quality. Studies show that the list of nutrient loading is the runoff from agricultural fields that also includes the manure getting into the rivers and streams.
We are — without a doubt — among the most fortunate of Americans because we have the largest spring fed lakes in the world and because we do, we'll continue to survive when there's drought everywhere else! (History often repeats itself and because it did happen here before, it could happen again!)
What appears being overlooked here is that "all the facts" that are getting to the public through the media about the causes of the algae growth in our lakes has (unfortunately) excluded the lack of known facts about farm manure and what more dairy farmers can and must do to help solve the problem!
There's really no excuse for this problem to exist and/or persist.
Joyce Hackett Smith-Moore