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What is Blue Green Algae?

Blue green algae is often found in lakes around Oklahoma during the summer. What is blue green algae and what do you need to do when it’s found?

Blue green algae, what it is and why you need to avoid it

The Grand River Dam Authority has reported that the Fly Creek area of Grand Lake has high levels of blue-green algae.


When the GRDA first reported the high levels on Friday, June 16, BGA densities were at more than  100,000 cells per milliliter with more than 20 micrograms per liter of microcystins is considered toxic.

There is currently a public advisory to avoid bodily contact with the water in the Fly Creek area of Grand Lake. Testing will continue daily as long as conditions warrant.

You can find the condition of other lakes around Oklahoma by visiting the Travel OK lake condition page. And if you see algae play it safe and avoid the area.

What is Blue Green Algae?

Blue Green Algae in Oklahoma

Photo property of the Tulsa District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Blue-green algae consists of tiny bacterial organisms. It can be found in all types of water including lakes, streams and pounds. Usually it’s found in low numbers but things like warm, stagnant water, heavy sunlight, and phosphorous or nitrogen can cause it to become abundant. Phosphorous and nitrogen can end up in the water from fertilizer and some household products.

Why is it Dangerous?

Some blue-green algae produces neurotoxins or hepatotoxins (live toxins), as well as toxins that can be harmful to the skins and gastrointestinal tract.

Exposure to these toxins can cause upper respiratory problems, vomiting and diarrhea, eye irritation, and a number of other health concerns. These toxins also can impact animals.

What to do if Blue Green Algae is Found?

  • Don’t drink untreated water.
  • Don’t swim, water ski, wade, or boat in areas where the water is discolored or where you see foam, scum, or mats of algae on the water.
  • If you swim or wade in water that may have blue green algae present, rinse off with fresh water and soap. This is also an effective method of reducing exposure for pets.
  • Don’t let pets or livestock swim or drink where water is discolored or where you see foam, scum, or mats of algae on the water.
  • Respect all water and beach closures.

You are also asked to please report any potential algae blooms to the local project office or the Oklahoma Dept. of Environmental Quality at 1-800-522-0206.

If you or a pet experiences nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, eye irritation, skin rays, respiratory symptoms or other unexplained illness, call your doctor or veterinarian.

For more information on blue green algae, visit Travel OK Lake Conditions

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Green Oklahoma’s Best of 2017

Happy Earth Day! Today we celebrate the earth and work to encourage good environmental stewardship. We also want to celebrate some of the great local businesses and organizations that are helping Oklahoma go green.

This is the fifth year of Green Oklahoma’s Reader’s Choice Awards and we are so excited about the response we had. We have so many great green businesses and organizations in Oklahoma.

 

We are excited to announce the winners of Best of 2017.

Best of 2017 Winners & Runners-up


Best Retail Store: Green Bambino
Runner-up: STASH

Best Restaurant– 1907 Meat Company
Runner-up: Scratch Kitchen & Cocktails

Best Bakery– Waving Wheat Bakery
Runner-up: Prairie Thunder Baking Co.

Best Farm– Arctic Farm
Runner-up:  Real-Ranch

Best StoreOSU-OKC Farmers’ Market
Runner-up: Cherry Street Farmers’ Market

Best Service– 2 Green Chicks
Runner-up: Katie’s Peachy Clean

Best Organization– Keep Oklahoma Beautiful
Runner-up: Oklahoma Green Schools Program

Thanks to everyone for your nominations and votes. Be sure to check out all of the winners and runner-ups.

Also check out all of the great Earth Day events going on around the state this week.

EPA Nominee Scott Pruitt Takes a Hands-Off Approach to Earthquakes in Oklahoma

Scott Pruitt's Role in Oklahoma EarthquakesOklahoma attorney general and President Trump’s nominee to run the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt’s environmental record is currently under a microscope, including his role in Oklahoma’s earthquake increase.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) questioned him about his role in the earthquakes, which scientist have linked to disposal wells used in the oil and gas industry.

Sanders asked what action Pruitt had taken to which he said he was very concerned, Sanders then said, “and therefore you must have taken action. I guess, can you tell me who you fined for doing this?” To which Pruitt replied, “the corporation commission in Oklahoma is vested with the jurisdiction and they have actually acted on that.”


 

Oklahomans have dealt with a record number of earthquakes that have caused damage and injuries around the state while waiting on the Oklahoma Corporation Commission to act.

In states like California and New York, attorney generals have been quick to step in on issues like this, while Pruitt took a hands off approach.

The Sierra Club issued a statement about the Pruitt nomination calling out his inaction on the earthquakes in Oklahoma.

“When a 2015 report from the Oklahoma Geological Survey found a direct link between oil and gas mining and increased destruction and property damage from earthquakes, Pruitt did nothing even though as Attorney General he is responsible for protecting Oklahomans. As the costs of earthquake damage pile up, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Geological Survey have urged action, Pruitt has done nothing as families have been forced from their homes. Scott Pruitt is also leading the legal challenge against the Mercury and Air Toxics Standard, passed by President Obama in 2011 to protect families from dangerous levels of mercury and arsenic, pushing to have it thrown out by the courts and allow coal-fired power plants to again dump tons of mercury into our environment.”

With his hands-off approach on this issue and many others impacting Oklahoma, it’s hard to know what action, if any, Pruitt will take on environmental issues plaguing the country.

If you are concerned about Scott Pruitt’s nomination for the head of the EPA tell your Senator

Green Oklahoma is Relaunching

Green Oklahoma started in January of 2011. Our mission has been to help you live a greener life here in Oklahoma. We have done this by helping Oklahomans find products, stores, and services right here in Oklahoma. We believe that Oklahoma has a lot to offer and can be a great place to live a greener lifestyle.

In January 2016, Green Oklahoma will be relaunching with even more great information. The focus will continue to be helping Oklahomans and people all over the world go green and providing local environmental news. We are working to bring new writers on board to bring you even more great stories and resources.

We will also be sharing even more great information through our mailing list. It will be a great way to get exclusive content, access to special coupons, and more. Click here to sign up.


We are looking forward to another year of bringing you great content that can help you live a greener life. We hope you will continue to follow us and also share with your friends.

Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. And don’t forget to sign up for our mailing list.

 

Breaking News: 4.0 Magnitude Earthquake Causes Power Outages in Cushing

4.0 Earthquake Causes Power Outages in OklahomaTwo earthquakes have rocked residents near Cushing, Oklahoma Thursday night.

At 8:16 p.m. a magnitude 4.0 earthquake was reported three miles west of Cushing. Not long after at 9:00 p.m., a 3.4 magnitude quake shook the same area.

According to residents there are power outages being reported but no injuries reported at this time.


Oklahoma has been experiencing a record number of earthquakes this year. And the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has conformed suspicions that the earthquake increase is not from natural causes. The increase has been instead linked to disposal wells used by the oil and gas industry.

Stay tuned for more information.

Map Credit: U.S. Geological Survey
Department of the Interior/USGS

 

New Facebook Group for Local Green Events

Green Oklahoma has added another great way for Oklahomans to live a greener life. A new group is now available on Facebook for Oklahomans to find and share local green events.

There is always something green going on around the state but it can be hard to find the information. With the new Green Events in Oklahoma group all of the information can be found in one place.

The events will also be added to our calendar to provide another place for you to find out about what’s going on in the state. Our calendar is mobile friendly so you can check event details on-the-go!


This group is for local green events, announcements, meetings, etc… Selling items and multi-level marketing will not be allowed. It is also a moderated group to make sure everyone follows the rules.

We encourage you to join and share any local green events you know about! It will be a fun place to learn and share.

Diesel Leak at Water Well in Ada

Diesel Leak at Water Well in AdaThe City of Ada discovered a diesel leak at a holding tank at one of its three water wells this week, the exact date of the leak is unknown. It’s estimated that 2,000 gallons leaked.

Ada contacted the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) immediately and is working to remediate the well site area.

Citizens in Ada are told to not be concerned as the leak does not affect the quality of Ada’s drinking water. The current concern is that it come affect quantity as demand increases this summer. The majority of Ada’s water comes from Byrd’s Mill Spring with the affected well supplementing during high demand.


The well is not currently in use and will remain out of service until the issue can be resolved.

Rationing could be required when demand rises but current rainfall will likely help the reduce the reliance on the affected well.

For more information visit the City of Ada website at www.adaok.com

Recommended reading- Ways to Conserve Water


Ada map credit- Adapted from Wikipedia’s OK county maps by Seth Ilys.

Oklahoma Impacted by Tornadoes, Flooding, an Earthquake and Exotic Animals

Oklahoma Impacted by Tornadoes, Flooding, an Earthquake and Exotic Animals

May is prime tornado season for Oklahoma but last night’s storms were one for the record books. Storms started firing in western Oklahoma early afternoon with a brief tornado touchdown in Caddo County at around 2:50 p.m.

Several tornadoes ended up touching down throughout the day. At least 52 people were injured and this morning it was reported that one woman was found dead in a storm shelter, it’s believed that she drowned.


In addition to the damaging tornadoes, the Oklahoma City metro area experienced historic flooding. Will Rogers World Airport received 7.10 inches of rainfall yesterday. The National Weather Service declared a flash flood emergency Wednesday night, the first in Oklahoma City’s history.  There was also a magnitude 2.9 earthquake reported in Luther.

The strangest story to come out of the storm happened when a tornado hit Tiger Safari in Tuttle. Exotic animals were briefly thought to be on the loose and people were told to stay indoors. Thankfully, all of the animals were okay and had not escaped.

The flooding has made clean up more difficult and there is a risk of more severe weather today. And a moderate risk weather alert has been issued for Saturday. It’s rare to see these alerts so far in advance. Oklahomans are urged to have an emergency plan ready and to be prepared for the next several days of severe weather.

If you would like to help the recovery efforts in Oklahoma, please donate to the American Red Cross.

Despite Spring Storms, Oklahoma Drought Continues

Despite Spring Storms, Oklahoma Drought Continues

Oklahoma has experience some spring storms lately but it hasn’t been enough to pull the state out of the drought. Drought conditions have actually worsened slightly for the state. Thankfully we are doing better than a year ago but not by much.

Wheat crops are starting to green up and they will require rain over the next few months for a healthy crop. Last year was Oklahoma’s worse wheat crop since 1957 so farmers are anxiously watching the weather and hoping for rain.


Many parts of the state are experiencing water supply issues. Due to lakes levels throughout the state being below normal. The following are currently the lowest.

  • Lugert-Altus Lake: 31 feet below normal
  • Foss Lake: 20 feet below normal
  • Waurika Lake: 19 feet below normal
  • Tom Steed Lake: 17 feet below normal
  • Skiatook Late: 17 feet below normal

Oklahoma also has been experiencing abnormal heat. It was 96 degrees in Alva on Monday, April 6th. That ties for the 17th highest recorded temperature for all April 6s dating back to the late 1880’s.

This is due to a dry line that has been in place. The dry line and lots of moisture is also expected to bring us storms over the next couple of days. Tornadoes and other severe weather will be possible.

According to the latest weather briefing from the US National Weather Service in Norman, Wednesday, there is an enhanced risk of severe weather for parts of the state. There is a smaller chance for severe weather on Thursday, mostly in south eastern Oklahoma.

The highest chance of storms is not in the area of the state that is most in need of the rain. This has been a problem for years.

Share your thoughts in the comments below or on our Facebook page.

Photo credit- The U.S. Drought Monitor is produced in partnership between the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the United States Department of Agriculture, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Map courtesy of NDMC-UNL.

USGS Says Earthquake Increase is Not From Natural Causes

2011 earthquake

Oklahoma has been seeing a sharp increase in earthquake activity. In 2014, Oklahoma beat out California, for the most earthquakes of magnitude 3 or greater, with 562 quakes compared to 180 in California.

This increase has Oklahoman’s wanting answers on the cause. In September of last year, Gov. Fallin created a seismic activity council to do just that. However, many fear that the council is bias due to the fact that it’s members are largely connected with the oil and gas industry.


Meanwhile, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has been studying this issue and last week said that the “rise in seismic activity, especially in the central United States, is not the result of natural processes.”

Their findings show that the increase is due to a part of the hydraulic fracturing process.

“These modern extraction techniques result in large quantities of wastewater produced along with the oil and gas. The disposal of this wastewater by deep injection occasionally results in earthquakes that are large enough to be felt, and sometimes damaging. Deep injection of wastewater is the primary cause of the dramatic rise in detected earthquakes and the corresponding increase in seismic hazard in the central U.S. ” – U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)

These findings are consistent with other studies done around the state.

Map Credit: U.S. Geological Survey
Department of the Interior/USGS