The main three environmental problems in the Saginaw Bay of Lake Huron are ‘muck, muck and muck’, says Craig Stow, a research scientist at the Great Lakes Environmental Research Lab who leads a NCCOS-supported project on multiple stresses to Saginaw Bay.
Muck is a mix of different types of algae, plants and decomposing organic matter that can cover beaches of the Saginaw Bay. It can harbor fecal coliforms and other bacteria, and has been a problem in the area since the 1970’s, Stow said at the 2012 Saginaw Bay Watershed Conference that convened stakeholders in the watershed to hear about water quality achievements and discuss opportunities for future improvement in the Saginaw Bay Watershed and River/Bay Area of Concern.
The level of muck in the bay can be related to phosphorus levels and populations of freshwater mussels. In order to understand and control muck, measures must be taken to limit phosphorus inputs and monitor water quality over the long term.