Experts to meet, discuss Saginaw Bay water quality

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Too much of good thing can be a bad thing – this referring to excess phosphorus and muck accumulating at the bottom of Saginaw Bay.

Experts are meeting in Bay City to discuss the quality of the Saginaw Bay, and present future projects they say will help improve it. They said phosphorus and muck act as fertilizer for algae in the bay.

Laura Ogar, with Bay County Environmental Affairs, disagrees. She said the algae washes up on shore after it dies, and turns into muk.

“It creates a lack of oxygen, and honestly, that algae creates a real safety problem, number one, especially for small children and animals,” she said. “It’s not really a solid, but it’s not really a liquid; it’s almost just like a quicksand type of muck.”

In addition, Ogar said the muck can harbor bacteria, and the bacteria will begin to grow on the shoreline as temperatures increase.

An option for the are is to conduct public perception surveys , but Ogar said further assessment of the public’s perception of the bay are not needed. She said the public’s feedback has been clear and consistent for decades.

“Maybe there’s a disconnect between local [and statewide] priorities,” she said. “We’ve been looking for funding to help us get a machine in place that can help us remove the muk. That’s our local priority, and we have been pretty vocal about it.”

Ogar said people know what the problem is, but as of now, there’s simply no remedy for it. She said there has been a shortfall in state funding toward equipment-based grants.

Thursday’s event is open to the public from 1-3 p.m. at the Wirt Public Library.