Study planned for algae

The most recent advisory about harmful algae on Lake Anna was released by the Virginia Department of Health on Aug. 18.

The Lake Anna Advisory Committee wants a contractor to study what’s causing harmful algae blooms in the water and to recommend what to do about it.

The committee, composed of members from Louisa, Spotsylvania and Orange counties, issued a request for proposals on Aug. 5. Funding for the study will come from the committee’s budget. The three county governments have contributed to the committee’s operations in the past, although not in fiscal year 2020.

The area of the lake to be studied is on the upper North Anna arm which extends from Holiday Bridge on Route 719 west to the upper reaches of Goldmine Creek and the North Anna River.

Harmful algae blooms, which have been detected on the lake in each of the past three summers, can be harmful to pets and people. The Virginia Department of Health said after the most recent bloom in July that it would post signs near the affected areas and discouraged people from going in the water until the problem dissipates.

Though observers aren’t sure exactly where the problem originates, the health department says excess amounts of nitrogen and phosphorus in the water are a likely contributor. Other chemical, biological and physical factors can affect the severity of algae blooms.

Two efforts in the Virginia General Assembly last winter to obtain funding to study the problem were unsuccessful. One was a budget amendment of $500,000 submitted by Sen. Mark Peake, who represents eastern Louisa County, to look at algae issues in lakes across the state. The other was a resolution by Del. John McGuire to address the same issue.

The deadline for potential contractors to respond to the request for proposals is Aug. 17. The study would begin in October.

Hydrilla spraying

The advisory committee announced that it would spray aquatic herbicides to kill hydrilla, an invasive weed, on 15 acres in Freshwater Cove on Aug. 18 and 25. If it rains, the spraying will be rescheduled for Aug. 20 and 27.

John Casale, a committee representative, said there are no restrictions on swimming or eating fish caught in the area after spraying. The herbicide is approved by the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources and will be applied by John Kaufman, a licensed contractor.

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