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Algae Solution Clean-up at UWA Duck Pond

Algae Clean up 3The Historic Covered Bridge that spans the Duck Pond in the middle of the University of West Alabama campus finds itself the subject of many photographs. However, what do you do, when that picturesque space becomes overrun with algae?

One solution is to dump herbicides to take care of the problem. While that will take care of the problem, it also runs the risk through runoff of harming beneficial plants such as cattails and burr marigolds, and other plants in the adjoining Black Belt Garden.
That solution was not acceptable to the staff of UWA’s Black Belt Museum. They joined forces with Department of Biological Sciences & Environmental Sciences, Beta Beta Beta Honor Society and UWA’s Physical Plant to look for an environmental friendly solution.

“We wanted a solution that cleaned up the area and also provided a learning opportunity for our students,” said Mr. James Lamb, Director of the Black Belt Museum.algae clean up 2

According to Lamb, the algae problem stems from the warm winters experienced by our region over the last few years. “Instead of dying back as it is supposed to do in the winter,” Lamb said, “the algae have continued to spread, covering the pond in an algae blanket.”
Through team work, students, professors and professional staff of UWA, are literally pumping the algae from the Duck Pond, logging their findings, and reusing the collected algae as an organic fertilizer for the Black Belt Garden. The problem has now become a benefactor to another area of campus.

So far, more than 800 pounds of algae have been collected, and the Duck Pond and Covered Bridge are being readied for many more picture perfect moments.

algae clean up 1Housed within the Division of Economic Development and Outreach the Black Belt Museum provides a crossroads between the University and the community –a way for students to anchor academic pursuits within their immediate surroundings and to hone these pursuits toward the betterment of our region. Its mission is to collect, preserve, exhibit, interpret, and celebrate the landscape and rich history of the Black Belt of Alabama and Mississippi.

To learn more about the Black Belt Museum and its programs, contact Lamb at jlamb@uwa.edu and like the Black Belt Museum on Facebook.

 

© 2017 Center for the Study of the Black Belt