Lake Analysis, a website that introduces homeowners to satellite analyses technology for lakes, has named Salamonie Reservoir “Polluted Lake of the Month.”
This summer, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) began Cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) sampling the week of June 18. While it issued warnings to Hoosiers at some recreational lakes and reservoirs to avoid the water, Salamonie Reservoir was not listed on their website as one of the lake areas containing blue-green algae. Earlier this month, two dogs died from blue-green algae toxicity after playing at Salamonie. Blue-green algae is highly toxic for both animals and humans.
The IDEM relies on water samples to determine whether or not a lake is safe. However, the manpower and time needed often isn’t available due to budget constraints and spreading the word on toxic areas is difficult. One look at a July 7 satellite image of Salamonie using Blue Water Satellite technology, reveals a very toxic lake.
Blue Water Satellite is a company started with patents developed by Dr. Robert Vincent while at Bowling Green State University with over $1 million in grants from NASA and NOAA. The company uses satellite images and patented image processing algorithms to monitor land and water resources for government agencies, utilities, environmental firms and lake managers around the world. Blue Water Satellite has a track record of serving some of the largest commercial firms in the world over the last four years. Headquartered in Bowling Green, Ohio, it’s the only company in the world that offers satellite image processing for cyanobacteria, chlorophyll-a, phosphorus in water, phosphorus on land, and submerged aquatic vegetation.
In a nutshell, the satellite images provide total water body images that tell scientists where the toxic waters lie.
More advantages of satellite imaging include:
- A wide area view of an entire lake with high resolution that provide 5 samples per acre
- Scans are available every 8-16 days or more depending on the satellite
- Images are available from 1984 for historic research/work/comparisons
- The technology employs spectral imaging–the same used by NASA
- Allows environmentalists to select best ground sample locations
- Using Satellite with specific ground sampling gives a true representation
- Indiana has approximately 21,000 miles of rivers, over 450 natural lakes, 580 impoundment lakes, or man-made reservoirs making it difficult to monitor effectively; satellite imaging allows more effective study of massive areas
Early detection can help curb the blooms before they grow out of control, lowering chemical treatment costs and reducing damage to the water body. The satellite technology is also able to detect Phosphorus – both in water and in surface soils. Early detection can help keep the Cyanobacteria and Chlorophyll-a blooms from ever occurring.
The company offers their services to homeowners, homeowner associations, real estate agents, and anyone who would like to get a low cost satellite picture of a lake. If your lake is between 50 and 350 acres, Blue Water Satellite will provide you with a satellite image showing relative values of Chlorophyll-a and or Cyanobacteria.
Balanced Indiana budgets. Balanced waters. Saved lives. Sounds like a win-win.
What say you? Shouldn’t Indiana employ such technology in order to keep Hoosiers safe?