LANSING, Mich. - If you are on Michigan waters in summer or fall months, you should be aware of the potential for harmful algal blooms (HABs).
HABs form due to a rapid overgrowth or bloom of cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae. Cyanobacteria are naturally present in lakes, rivers and ponds. Unfortunately, some cyanobacteria produce toxins, called cyanotoxins, that can be present in cyanobacterial blooms, which at higher levels can be harmful to people and animals.
HABs usually occur in Michigan May through October, most commonly in August and September. The occurrence of cyanobacteria and their toxins has been confirmed in lakes across Michigan in previous years, and elevated toxin levels have been documented in a small percentage of Michigan lakes. During 2020, 61 HABs in 35 Michigan counties were reported to the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE).
"Before going in the water, we recommend Michiganders look for visible algal blooms or scums on any lake, and that people and pets stay out of water in areas that look affected," said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health for Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. "If you may have had contact with or swallowed water with a HAB and feel sick, call your doctor or Poison Control at 800-222-1222. If symptoms are severe, seek emergency medical attention as soon as possible."
What does a HAB look like?
HABs can look like algal scums or mats, spilled paint or pea soup, or colored streaks on the water's surface. Visit the HAB Picture Guide for examples of HABs and other algae and plants.
Blooms may last for days or sometimes weeks. Blooms can change in size, toxicity and location within the same day. They also may disappear on a waterbody, but then form at a later time.
What should people do if they think they have found a HAB?
Consult the HAB Picture Guide for examples of HABs and compare your sighting to other algae and plants found in lakes.
If you suspect you have found a HAB or have any suspicion:
What are the symptoms of HAB exposure?
The Michigan DNR is asking those who fish for muskellunge to help with its ongoing efforts to investigate these fish through the DNR’s online muskie angler survey.
Since 2014, this survey has gathered information about muskie angler demographics and catch data, such as length of fish caught, angler effort, body of water fished and methods used. Fisheries managers have used this data to recommend fishing regulation changes to the Michigan Natural Resources Commission, evaluate the muskie stocking program and understand more about self-sustaining populations.
Traditional methods, including in-person creel surveys and postcards, have not been as successful as the online survey at collecting this type of information. Anglers may fill out one survey per person, per trip and are encouraged to complete a survey for each muskie fishing trip they make.
Michigan United Conservation Clubs ( MUCC) is seeking survey responses from individuals who have encountered enforcement issues at state-owned public launches for using the ramp during nighttime hours, regardless if closed hours were posted.
In 2020, MUCC Wildlife Policy Committee Chair and Bowfishing Association of Michigan member Rob Miller introduced a policy resolution to address inconsistent enforcement and access issues during nighttime at boat launches. The resolution passed through the organization’s grassroots policy process.
A link to the survey can be found here. Only individuals who use or have attempted to use state-owned boat ramps at nighttime hours should respond.
Have questions about fishing in Michigan and 2021 fishing regulations? Michigan will host some virtual “Conversations & Coffee” events, focusing on fisheries management areas around the state, to get answers and talk with DNR Fisheries Division staff.
These events cover local and statewide regulation changes affecting anglers and are a great opportunity to meet fisheries managers and biologists, discuss local issues and management activities, and get specific questions answered.
Central and Southern biologists Scott Heintzelman and Brian Gunderman will host one April 15 from 6:30-8:30 p.m.
You can join the webinar by going to https://msu.zoom.us/j/92783071237. Webinar ID is 927 8307 1237.
ShowSpan, Inc., Michigan's premier producer of consumer shows, today announced the postponement of the rest of its 2021 “Show Season” in Grand Rapids to a similar schedule in the First Quarter of 2022. A decision on ShowSpan’s remaining schedule of 2021 consumer shows in Novi and Lansing, Michigan has not yet been made.