Picturing Algal Blooms in Local Waterways

By Marguerite Huber

Mother duck and ducklings swim through algae-topped water.

Patricia M.’s photo of some wood ducks swimming through algae in Downingtown, Pennsylvania.

For years now, I have been learning about algal blooms: from seeing and studying them first hand in a lake and watershed management course in graduate school, to watching bloom events unfold and writing all about them here at EPA.

But you don’t have to be studying algal blooms or work at the EPA to see them. Algal blooms can occur in lakes, rivers, and oceans, where there is an excess of nutrient pollution, sunlight, and slow-moving water. Nutrient pollution is one of America’s most widespread, costly, and challenging environmental problems.

This summer, the National Environmental Education Foundation teamed up with EPA and the North American Lake Management Society to bring attention to algal blooms and their association with nutrient pollution by hosting the 2014 Algal Bloom Photo Contest. Contestants used Facebook, Instagram, and #AlgalBloomPhoto14 to enter their photos of algal blooms in their local waterways. The submissions from all over the country will help build a photo library that can be used to educate others about algal blooms and their impacts. Out of hundreds of entries, three were chosen as winners.

Along with the winning image of the duck family above, here are a couple more of my favorite entries.

Green covered pond in Central Park, NYC

Brad W.’s photo of Central Park in New York City.


A green lake is not something you probably would expect to see on a stroll through Central Park.


Beachgoer under an umbrella

Dick R.’s photo of Tainter Lake in Menomonie, Wisconsin










Surrounded by sand, water—and algae!










You can pick your own favorites from all the entries and the finalists as well!

About the Author: Marguerite Huber is a student contractor with EPA’s science communications team.



Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.