More algae in Sierra waters

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wildhiker
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More algae in Sierra waters

Post by wildhiker » Tue Sep 10, 2019 10:17 pm

Anyone else noticing more algae in high sierra lakes and streams?

On my Yosemite trip around Labor Day weekend, visiting places I had last seen in 2014, I noticed substantial algae in streams where I remember none. For example: the Tuolumne River in Lyell Fork canyon, Maclure Creek at the unnamed lakes about 10,500 feet, and the outlet stream from Ireland Lake at about the same elevation. Maclure Creek has no trail and is little visited. Ireland Lake has a trail, but also lower use. Obviously lots of use in Lyell Fork canyon. But algae amounts appeared to be unrelated to the remoteness of the stream.

I mentioned this to a ranger naturalist at Tuolumne Meadows who agreed that algae appears to be on the increase in the high sierra waters. We speculated this might be due to warmer temperatures caused by global warming? Anybody have any better idea?

-Phil








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wildhiker
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Re: More algae in Sierra waters

Post by wildhiker » Wed Sep 11, 2019 10:47 pm

Adding to my own post...

I thought of another possible explanation for increased algae this year (compared to a few years ago). All that algae needs nutrients. All the big fires of the last few years that filled the Sierra with smoke - and sometimes ash - for weeks were bringing in air-borne nutrients, some of which fell out or precipitated out of the air. Could that be the nutrient source that has increased algae in the streams, where the ash and smoke particulates would accumulate from runoff?

-Phil

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