Helping Nature Store Our Water

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District Moves Water Flow to Control Algae

Algae can be toxic to wildlife, particularly if it gets out of hand. San Bernardino Valley Water Conservation District staff recently completed a project to move water in the Santa Ana Basin to force drying that would reduce algae growth. To date, all district basins have been cleaned for winter flows, but some additional cleaning will be needed, even if there is little rain in the future.

Algae grows in wet environments where there is an abundance of sunshine and nutrients, particularly phosphorous and nitrogen – two elements found naturally in water environments, but detected in higher concentrations from fertilizers that make their way to the Wash in urban runoff.

The occurrence of algae in natural waterways can have ecological impacts, with blooms involving toxin-producing species posing serious threats to wildlife. Left unchecked, the algae can take over bodies of water, creating “dead zones” that stifle out aquatic life due to a lack of oxygen in the water.

By moving the natural flow of the creek beds, we can divert water momentarily to dry out the algae and control it, naturally.