by Devi Shastri, Oshkosh Northwestern

VINLAND – Experts say this year’s blue-green algae season began earlier and stronger than expected, surprising researchers and capturing the attention of the public.

But the concern isn’t actually over algae: It’s actually a bacteria disguised as the mucky green plant.

These blooms are a yearly occurrence in Lake Winnebago, which is naturally abundant in the nutrients the bacteria need to survive. But human influence including the overuse of fertilizers is making blooms larger, researchers said. Toxic blue-green algae blooms can threaten the health of the people and animals who rely on the lake for water and recreation.

Read more: