Green is not always good

Our farm hosted some very distinguished guests yesterday.

VIPelicans

VIPelicans

I am so glad they arrived now and not two weeks ago. The farm’s stunning Land for Wildlife Dam is sanctuary for many beautiful birds but, for the first time in living memory, the dam succumbed to an algal bloom that looked more like a massive acrylic paint disaster.

Algae on January 30

Algae on January 30

The stuff was brilliant green and, while not smelly, it was not a welcome sight. Excess nutrients and warmth can combine to bring about algal blooms that leave waterways toxic for weeks or months. Here’s how the water’s edge looked yesterday. A lot better but still not clear.

Algae February 12

Algae February 12

So, what to do? Experts say to exclude stock from the dam and create a buffer to prevent fertiliser runoff – and that’s already done. Next, we will emulate the sewage wetlands of Melbourne’s newest housing estates and plant dense stemmy vegetation upstream of the dam that will encourage “good” algae and strip nutrients from the water as it passes through. It will mean more wildlife habitat and safer water. Good for everyone!

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