Preventative measures for cyanobacteria source causes (visit Causes page) are the preferred approach to managing for blooms. Some source causes are naturally occurring but we can take precautions for the man-made sources.
Runoff from stormwater, agriculture production, fairways, and lawns can be decreased with the proper management practices. Management of stormwater, irrigation, tillage, and riparian zones is the best way to decrease the chances of runoff.
- Stormwater: EPA Stormwater Management Website
- Irrigation: Oklahoma Water Resources Center Website
- Tillage: Strip-till Considerations in Oklahoma Fact Sheet
- Riparian Zone: Riparian Buffer Systems for Oklahoma Fact Sheet
Water that is stagnant typically is warmer and holds less oxygen. Both lead to prime conditions for a bloom to occur. Adding a fountain or aerator can create flow in your private pond and decrease those conditions. Review the Neighborhood and Urban Pond Management Fact Sheet for further detail. If a fountain or aerator is not within your budget and a bloom is present, avoid contact with water. If livestock utilize the pond as a drinking water source, fence off area until bloom has subsided.
For lakes where water may be shallow and stagnant, such as a cove, avoid these areas until bloom has subsided or the lake manager has lifted the contact ban.
Nutrients applied to agriculture production, fairways, and lawns can have huge impacts on the environment if used in excessive amounts. There are resources and tips available to help optimize nutrient use, minimize loss, and still produce desired yield /results.
- Soil Testing: performing a soil test before production begins, gives a great indicator of soil characteristics and fertilizer needs. Some nutrients may already be available but without a proper test, the amount would be unknown. Also, knowing the soil texture gives a better understanding how your soil will react to drainage, leaching, and nutrient retention.
- Fertilizer: Applying essential elements, such as nitrogen and phosphorus, for plant growth and development is important for production. However, applying too much causes environmental harm and a loss of money to the owner. Plants can absorb a limited amount of nutrients and the excess is lost through leaching and runoff with water. Understanding how much to apply is essential. Oklahoma State University has developed several tools for application of fertilizers to many Oklahoma crops and lawns. Please refer to the following documents and websites for further detail or contact your local Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service.
Other Prevention Methods: Chemical Application
Chemical applications such as aquatic herbicides or copper sulfate are not recommended by DEQ. These temporarily reduce a bloom that is occurring but can cause issues later due to the decay of dead organic matter. Adding certain chemical can cause cyanobactrial cells to immediately disintegrate and release toxins. This could kill aquatic life and other animals that come in contact with the treated water. Chemical applications prior to a bloom do not serve as a preventative measure and will not prevent blooms from occurring later.