Scientists help clean lake in Guatemala

Jun 23, 2010

Armed with decades of knowledge gleaned from research on Lake Tahoe, scientists from UC Davis, University of Nevada-Reno and Arizona State are helping tackle pollution on a remarkably similar body of water in Guatemala, according to a UNR news release.

The water in Lake Atitlan is contaminated with waste water and watershed runoff, spurring algae growth and providing suitable conditions for bacteria and pathogens.

UC Davis wetlands ecologist Eliska Rejmankova initiated the project, aimed at training Guatemalan students to protect the water in what Global Nature Fund in 2009 designated its "Threatened Lake of the Year."

"We want to work with these groups and help train Guatemalan students to develop local capacity to conserve one of the most beautiful highland tropical lakes in the world," Rejmankova was quoted in the release. "We want to work with local scientists to develop alternative strategies, based around the idea that the solution to the algae problem is to address the sources of nutrient loading into the lake, so water going into the lake will be as clean as possible."

The UC Davis members of the team, lead by Rejmankova, conducted near-shore sampling of invertebrates, algae, water, sediments, and plants, the news release said.

The environmental blogs Treehugger and Red Orbit picked up the story.

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By Jeannette E. Warnert
Author - Communications Specialist