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Microscopic Algae Turns Table Rock Lake Brown

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File photo of Table Rock Lake

File photo of Table Rock Lake

CBS St. Louis (con't)

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KIMBERLING CITY, Mo. (AP)– A bloom of microscopic algae has turned parts of southwest Missouri’s Table Rock Lake brown, but officials said the bloom should be fading soon and doesn’t pose a health threat.

Gopala Borchelt, executive director of Table Rock Lake Water Quality, Inc., estimated the algae bloom has affected less than a third of the 43,100-acre lake. The main affected areas are the James River arm and a few spots near Shell Knob, Borchelt told The Springfield News Leader.

Table Rock Lake Water Quality said the varieties of algae present aren’t a health hazard and tests also showed that E. coli levels in the lake were well within safe limits.

The bloom, which was likely caused by calm, sunny weather and plenty of nutrients, isn’t expected to last much longer thanks in part to gusty winds that have begun to clear out the algae, Borchelt said.
“The natural cycle of things will eventually take care of it,” Borchelt said. “Zooplankton will eventually start feeding on it, like cattle in a pasture.”

The discoloration hasn’t slowed business on the lake.
“The fishing, I’ve heard, is kind of good,” Borchelt said. “They (fish) have cover, so they can’t see boats. So if you don’t have your motor on and just drift, the fish have no idea the boat is there.”

Kim Hopper, marina store manager at Cape Fair Marina, said the algae looked like “scum on top of the water,” but said it seems to be dissipating.
“I don’t even really see it anymore,” Hopper said. “It was pretty much everywhere. I’d kind of look out and it looked like it was just floating on the water, but now it looks really clear.”

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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