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What can be done with the excessive algae that’s been washing up on Great Lakes beaches for several years? Can it be composted? Burned as fuel? Is it dangerous to swimmers?

Such questions will be addressed at a public forum 9 a.m.-3 p.m., Friday, Jan. 16 at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, Reeve Union, Room 202.

The meeting is for beach managers, community leaders, citizen groups and government officials from around the Great Lakes. Speakers will include researchers, state and local officials, University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Advisory Services staff, and interested citizen groups.

Excessive algae has been fouling beaches on Lake Michigan and other Great Lakes for about nine years. When it rots in the sun, the algae can smell like sewage, spoiling enjoyment of Great Lakes beaches, parks, and other public and private places. Mats of the algae may also harbor many E. coli bacteria, which may indicate the presence of harmful microorganisms that can make swimming unsafe.

The forum is open to researchers, beach managers, state regulatory agencies, county officials, public health staff, lake associations, and all other interested parties.

People interested in attending the forum are requested to register by Wednesday, Jan. 14, to Greg Kleinheinz, Department of Biology and Microbiology, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, (920) 424-1100, kleinhei@uwosh.edu. The meeting is free and open to the public and includes lunch and refreshments.

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