We will start the class with a short discussion of hot topics in the vegetable garden and then proceed into basics of canning and freezing vegetables. The class will include proper use of a pressure canner and water bath canners including other equipment needed. We will have a question and answer session on common questions concerning canning and freezing.
We will finish up with the testing of your pressure canners. We will have refreshments. Cost of the class is $5 and you can stop by the office to sign up or call us at 706-629-8685 to get on the list for July 19. The class will be in the Gordon Extension Office Auditorium at 1 McDaniel Station Rd. SW starting at 9 a.m.
Toxic pond water
Recently a story broke on cattle dying from drinking pond water where the algal bloom was producing a toxin. If you saw a written article or saw a report on TV., you may have heard the words, toxic algae, blue-green algae and cyanobacteria.
Today, I will share information recently put out by the University of Georgia on this situation. Information will come from Dr. Gary Burtle, UGA Extension Fisheries Specialist.
According to Burtle, blue-green algae are common algae that generally float in the water column or attach to the pond bottom or even to rock, wood or other surfaces in the water.
Cyanobacteria is a more descriptive word for blue-green algae according to Burtle. Toxic algae is a term that we give to several species of algae that can cause skin irritation, liver damage and affect the brain.
According to the article, the effects can be serious, but in general are not. Dry weather is mainly responsible for the development of the toxic conditions. When we have drought, water volume is less and you do not have runoff that will flush out the pond.
The less water volume will concentrate nutrients and phosphorus that are dissolved in water. Algae will grow fast with a mix of phosphorus, nitrogen, heat and sunlight. Burtle states that certain blue-green algal species can dominate the algae population and become a single species bloom. Algae bloom density can increase until you get a thick scum or pea soup appearance is seen. Bloom color can be light blue-green, bright green, green-brown or even a chocolate. When this happens, the danger from the toxins is apparent according to Burtle. Animals are in danger when they drink the scum along with water.
Toxins form inside blue-green algae cells and the toxins may be released into water directly or after the cells are disrupted or die. A pond may have a small amount of toxin and then have a large amount after the blue-green algae is killed with an algicide or by a change in light or nutrient amounts below algae needs.
The chemicals produced by blue-green algae can be harmless or can be real toxic. Animals deaths are rare, but can happen. Burtle states that if the drought continues, we can expect more conditions that can favor toxic algae and potential more animals’ death like the cows in Gwinnett.
What can you do? If a pond looks stagnant, take steps or precautions against animal exposure. Decide on an algae control method. You may need to move the animals or limit their access to the water. This may be a good time to invest in a water trough and use another water source. This may mean hauling water.
According to Burtle, there are steps to consider when evaluating a blue-green algae bloom. Again, has a scum begun to form? Consider excluding the animal from the water till the algae is controlled. Is any water exchange possible from springs, run-off or well water? Flushing of a quarter of the water body by exchange monthly can help. Can nutrients be excluded from the pond?
A vegetative buffer can help around the pond and fencing animals to have only limited access can be an option too. Can a temporary water supply be established for animals till water quality improves? This means to install a water trough and either haul or pipe clean water. Finally, if you go with algicidal chemicals such as copper or sodium percarbonate chemicals you MUST do your research prior. Any chemical additions can cause oxygen depletion and fish kills in your stock pond. Hot weather increases the chances of water oxygen depletion. Also, if copper chemicals are added when dense algal blooms develop, release of algal toxins may occur in quantities that may be toxic to animals. Burtle states that a source of aeration should be present before chemical addition in order to reduce the danger of oxygen depletion in a pond to reduce chances of injury to fish population.
Finally, I will be happy to share this article information with folks considering chemical options so they have more detail on precautions. It is the role of the person to read the label of any product for correct and safe usage. For more information contact Gordon County Extension at 706-629-8685 or email email@example.com.