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Department of Schadenfreude

If it doesn't fit anywhere else, it fits here

Re: Department of Schadenfreude

Postby Ducatista » Tue Dec 04, 2012 8:52 pm

ilikebeans wrote:Le me know when I can get within a block of our local natural lake system during July without gagging.

If you can get out to the middle of Mendota, it's always swimmable and often quite lovely.
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Re: Department of Schadenfreude

Postby jman111 » Tue Dec 04, 2012 10:09 pm

Well, always swimmable, I suppose. But there were times this year at which the cyanobacteria were abundant throughout the lake. Not just the streaks of green below the surface, but the nasty floating clumps, even out in the middle. A real hypertrophic mess and not lovely at all.
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Re: Department of Schadenfreude

Postby rabble » Wed Dec 05, 2012 12:38 am

Yeah, that farm runoff is hell.

I still prefer a natural lake, even with the crap coming down the Yahara, to a man made one. To me it's just a big swimming pool.

I can understand how someone would prefer cleaner water, no matter how it's cleaned. Just a matter of tastes.
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Re: Department of Schadenfreude

Postby kurt_w » Wed Dec 05, 2012 8:52 am

jman111 wrote:Well, always swimmable, I suppose. But there were times this year at which the cyanobacteria were abundant throughout the lake. Not just the streaks of green below the surface, but the nasty floating clumps, even out in the middle. A real hypertrophic mess and not lovely at all.


I wouldn't want to be out in the middle of the lake when this satellite image was taken:

Image

From an article in Space Daily:

Study Shows Eutrophic Lakes May Not Recover For A Millennium

Madison WI (SPX) Jun 14, 2005
Although it has taken just 60 years for humans to put many freshwater lakes on the eutrophication fast track, a new study shows their recovery may take a thousand years under the best of circumstances.

Writing in today's (June 13) online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), University of Wisconsin-Madison limnologist Stephen R. Carpenter reported results of a study that showed that the buildup of phosphorus in soils in lake watersheds is likely to be the source of serious chronic environmental problems for hundreds of years.


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Edited a second time to remove picture that was causing problems with the thread
Last edited by kurt_w on Thu Dec 06, 2012 9:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Department of Schadenfreude

Postby narcoleptish » Wed Dec 05, 2012 11:24 am

That picture was taken during the Midwest Marijuana Fest.

The lake is fine.
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Re: Department of Schadenfreude

Postby Ducatista » Wed Dec 05, 2012 2:41 pm

jman111 wrote:Well, always swimmable, I suppose. But there were times this year at which the cyanobacteria were abundant throughout the lake. Not just the streaks of green below the surface, but the nasty floating clumps, even out in the middle. A real hypertrophic mess and not lovely at all.

Can't argue with that. I grew up with cool, clear lakes up north, and that's my preference.

Just sayin, for beans' benefit: the middle of Mendota is a lot different from the shallows. (Speaking of which: I can't believe Three Foot Bay, north of Maple Bluff, is so popular. Total cesspool.)
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Re: Department of Schadenfreude

Postby jman111 » Wed Dec 05, 2012 3:01 pm

Ducatista wrote:Just sayin, for beans' benefit: the middle of Mendota is a lot different from the shallows.

Except, that's not even the case anymore. The extent of the blooms affects even the once-desirable middle of the lake. We zig-zagged across the lake looking for a place to take a dip on several occasions to no avail.
Pea soup with fuzzy floating clumps was found throughout.
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Re: Department of Schadenfreude

Postby rabble » Wed Dec 05, 2012 3:28 pm

I think you can blame the drought and the resulting low water for that. After every rain the level goes up a bit and then sinks right back down. Looks like everything's about two feel lower than it oughta be.

That's really good for weed and glop growth.
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Re: Department of Schadenfreude

Postby jman111 » Wed Dec 05, 2012 4:12 pm

Not sure that's actually the case, though. Mendota was definitely low all summer, but we usually see the blooms after rainfall (due to the increased runoff). The good folks over as Hasler Lab could probably explain it in more detail.
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Re: Department of Schadenfreude

Postby Henry Vilas » Wed Dec 05, 2012 4:28 pm

In Mollenhoff's history of Madison, he writes how people complained (over a hundred years ago) about the poor water quality in our lakes, especially for swimming. Seems like things haven't changed much.
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Re: Department of Schadenfreude

Postby Mean Scenester » Wed Dec 05, 2012 5:00 pm

Henry Vilas wrote:In Mollenhoff's history of Madison, he writes how people complained (over a hundred years ago) about the poor water quality in our lakes, especially for swimming. Seems like things haven't changed much.

Actually, things have changed a shitload and I don't use the term lightly.

The problem with Lake Monona in the late-19th century was that we used to dump untreated sewage there.

Source: http://www.williamcronon.net/place_pape ... e_2008.pdf

Rachel Hunerdosse and William Cronon wrote:In the early years of Madison, the city government did not treat Lake Monona in a sustainable, pragmatic way which caused, from a modern perspective, predictable results. The year 1885 marked the first instance of point source pollution into Lake Monona. Madison had a growing population of 12,000 and to support this population the city government installed a sewer system. This system discharged untreated sewage into Lake Monona near Blair Street because the Common Council decided that building a treatment plant would be too costly. If the city government had known how disgusting releasing raw sewage into Lake Monona would be, they probably would have made the investment in a sewage treatment plant. First hand accounts use descriptions like “pool of filth” and “sickening stench” to sum up the state of Lake Monona at the time. It soon became clear that the city could no longer discharge untreated sewage into the lake because the sight and the aroma were too much to bear.

I'm not saying the issue of agricultural runoff is any less concerning ecologically speaking, but if I had to choose, I'll take the figurative cesspool over the literal one.
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Re: Department of Schadenfreude

Postby kurt_w » Thu Dec 06, 2012 9:51 am

jman111 wrote:
Ducatista wrote:Just sayin, for beans' benefit: the middle of Mendota is a lot different from the shallows.

Except, that's not even the case anymore. The extent of the blooms affects even the once-desirable middle of the lake. We zig-zagged across the lake looking for a place to take a dip on several occasions to no avail.
Pea soup with fuzzy floating clumps was found throughout.


I think you're both right ... (OK, OK, I know, that's lame!)

There are many days when the middle of the lake is rather better than the shorelines. There are also days when the middle of the lake has big algae blooms and is thoroughly unpleasant.

It would be good to get someone from CFL to weigh in here. My understanding is that the variations in algae are not just a matter of rainfall and runoff, but also the annual cycle of the lake. So, for example, after the ice goes out in the spring, there's a big growth of phytoplankton, followed by a big increase in zooplankton eating the phytoplankton.

Likewise, maybe at some point after the summer, the nutrients in the surface layer have been depleted and the lake gets a little clearer. Then the temperature drops, the lake turns over (as surface water mixes with the deeper water) and nutrients that had been out of reach are brought up to the surface, causing a late-season algae bloom.

Of course, I probably don't really know what I'm talking about.

But I did used to hang out with some grad students in UW limnology, back when I was a grad student myself. Even got to ride along in the boat that they keep in that secret underground dock beneath the lab, when some people were going out to do their weekly sampling. That was pretty cool; it felt a bit like something from Batman or James Bond. Except a real superhero would back the boat into the underground hideout, so he could zoom out forwards when needed ... instead of pulling forwards into the dock and then having to back out slowly.

Or so it seems to me.
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Re: Department of Schadenfreude

Postby Ducatista » Thu Dec 06, 2012 10:30 am

Mendota has its good days and bad days, just like the rest of us. I spend a fair amount of time on it, and there've been days when the water quality isn't good enough to entice me in, but never a day when I'd call it unswimmable.

July 4th this year was a bad day for algal clumps, but it was also 103°, so we worked hard to find a clear spot. Well worth the effort in that heat.

And every once in a while there are days like this, in late July. The water was clear, soft, perfect. Amazing.

Image
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Re: Department of Schadenfreude

Postby fennel » Thu Dec 06, 2012 12:54 pm

When it strips the polish from your toenails, you'll know it's time to get out of the water.
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Re: Department of Schadenfreude

Postby Broadsheet » Tue Dec 11, 2012 3:31 pm

As I recall, this lake was built as a training facility for a kid in the family who was a competitive water-skiier. Sort of like Shaun White's personal snowboard course.
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