I routinely check the Lake Winnipeg Research Consortium( LWRC) website to see if they’ve put up any new satellite images of the lake. Now its easy to check both for satellite images and whether there are any new beach or algae advisories by going to the home page of the Lake Winnipeg Foundation where there are links to both the LWRC satellite images and to Manitoba Water Stewardship’s official site for beach advisories.
This year the algal blooms on Lake Winnipeg have started earlier than usual and the bloom in the south basin is much larger than usual. Thanks to the archived information on the LWRC website, I found a satellite image from July 24 two years ago and we’re able to compare it to the satellite image for this year on July 24. It is quite remarkable what a huge bloom there is this year compared to two years ago, in the south basin and in the narrows area. Unfortunately we’re still early in the summer season for blooms so its quite likely that the algae will become even more prevalent.
Being able to see the overall size of the algal blooms in these satellite pictures is really helpful because otherwise we have to rely greatly on anecdotal information from individuals who have encountered it in their areas. These images really drive home the point that Lake Winnipeg is being seriously threatened and we shouldn’t be wasting any time in trying to decrease the excess nutrients that are feeding these blooms.