$60,000 needed to address smelly algae in Lake Norman

Hundreds gathered Tuesday night for a community meeting to talk about the foul-smelling algae that has popped up in Lake Norman.

“It manifested itself mainly on hole 18,” said resident Butch English. “I didn’t know what it was. It didn’t look normal. It looks ugly. It almost looks like feces, if you will, but I couldn’t smell it or anything.”

PAST COVERAGE: Community meeting planned to discuss algae in Lake Norman

Residents learned it would cost about $60,000 to address the lyngbya cyanobacteria, which is a blue-green algae.

It was seen floating on about 10 acres of water, which negatively impacts swimmers, pets, and personal watercraft, officials said.

State officials recommend that people and their pets stay away from it.

Residents want the problem taken care of by April before people flock to the lake and they want the state to pay for it.

“One of the takeaways from the North Carolina state report was, you let this continue to grow and it gets difficult to manage at nuisance levels,” said Brett Hardist, chief scientist at Duke Energy.

He said lyngbya can be very difficult to control mostly because the state only has programs to control invasive aquatic plants but not algae.

“They also have programs that monitor harmful algal blooms, but not manage harmful algal blooms, so there’s a little bit a disconnect at the state or federal level,” Harist said.

Residents, who have considered helping pay for the cleanup, wonder what the chances are of it coming back.

Funds must be raised before anything can be done about it.

Community members held Tuesday night’s meeting, which was not sponsored by any government agency or municipality.

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