Paddle Diva is located in the Hamptons, a group of villages that line the East End of Long Island on its South Fork. Surrounded by water – the Atlantic Ocean on one side, the Peconic Bay on the other – and with miles of ponds, rivers and marshes running through, many residents of the area, myself included, make a living from our natural environment.
I make it a point to distinguish our natural environment from the human-engineered environment we’ve created for ourselves over – the manicured lawns and gardens that so many of our less eco-conscious neighbors insist on maintaining. The thing is, the fertilizers required for keeping the lawns green and the flower beds blooming are accumulating in our waterways.
One of the most visible and disgusting pieces of evidence of this pollution are the giant blooms of cyanobacteria, microscopic organisms that are usually present in lakes and streams in low numbers but can become abundant in surface water that receives a lot of sunlight which pretty much describes all of the Hamptons, especially in the summer when the lakes and ponds warm up.
These blooms show up as scum floating on the surface of the water, or discoloring the water altogether. Either way, it makes it unpleasant for swimming or other activities on or near the water. Too much algae is also destructive to lake systems as it blocks sunlight and prevents other plants from growing. And when the algae finally die, they sink to the bottom of the pond or lake and decompose in a process that depletes oxygen from the water. Fish can’t survive in these “dead zones” and so they die.
We can all help by understanding that our actions affect the water and environment around us! I’d love to see more people converting their lawns to native plants and natural vegetation that can help water quality by soaking up rainfall, reducing runoff, and retaining sediment. By now, we should all be using phosphorus-free fertilizers.
For more information and ways that you can battle the blue green algae, check out the Organic Gardening Guru at Planet Natural. Let’s keep our water that is fun and safe – and ensure that businesses like Paddle Diva, that rely on clean waterways, stay afloat for years to come!