Study Cladophora

Study Cladophora

What is Cladophora and what does it have to do with the Glen Lake Association?

Cladophora is a type of stringy algae that grows on rocks, wood, logs and other hard underwater surfaces in freshwater ecosystems, including the Great Lakes basin. According to the American Society for Microbiology, significant accumulations occur along shorelines during the summer months and have been shown to harbor high densities of the fecal bacteria indicator, E.coli. Levels of E. coli are used as the standard for water quality assessment in many states and is considered an indicator of recent fecal contamination. Therefore, a growth of this algae on a shoreline can be used as an indicator of septic problems, such as septic water leaching into the water, obviously a problem for our water quality. It can also help to determine if fertilizer misuse is occurring causing the Cladophora to occur and grow and also affect water quality.

The GLA conducts Cladophora shoreline surveys each year, which assist in identifying potential sites where a septic system may be working improperly or use of fertilizers is affecting the health of Glen Lake. The GLA provides funding for the surveys and a watershed biologist, currently Rob Karner, to provide home visits to discuss remedies with homeowners and to answer any questions about keeping septic systems working properly. So far 8-10 home visits have occurred resulting in developing greater awareness of best management practices that promote water quality. A great use of our membership dues!