Field Notes

July 27, 2020

K21 Health Foundation grants over $230,000 to blue-green algae research at the Lilly Center

PRESS RELEASE – K21 Health Foundation recently supplied a 2020-23 grant to the Lilly Center for Lakes & Streams to support ongoing blue-green algae research. The grant totaled over $230,000, and is specifically for blue-green algae research, analysis and reporting.

“Years ago, we were among the first to invest in the Lilly Center’s blue-green algae research,” said Rich Haddad, president and CEO of K21. “Their work parallels our mission to improve the health of our community,” Haddad said. “We look forward to discovering more about blue-green algae toxins alongside the Lilly Center,” he added.

Funded primarily by K21, the Lilly Center’s current blue-green algae research involves a notification system that will allow community members to find out if the harmful toxin has been detected in 14 local lakes, including 12 all-sport lakes, as well as the county’s seven public beaches.

“To this point, thanks in large part to K21, we’ve trained our research team, started weekly summer lake sampling, and started to gather toxin results from in-house water testing,” said Adrienne Funderburg, research program specialist. “There’s still more work to be done!” In the future, the Lilly Center plans to conduct more targeted blue-green algae bloom sampling as the blooms increase over the summer. This will allow the Lilly Center to analyze the differences between “normal” blue-green and toxin levels, and less-predictable blue-green algae “events.”

“We look forward to continued partnership with the foundation, and maximizing their generous three-year grant for the benefit of our community,” stated Dr. Nate Bosch, director of the Lilly Center.

The Lilly Center has conducted scientific research on over 30 streams and 40 lakes in Kosciusko County. Every summer (including this year) they collect water samples from 14 lakes and seven public beaches. In the coming years, an important goal of the current project is a proactive science-based notification system that alerts the public to the potential health risks presented by blue-green algae toxins. More news will be released as the system is developed. Right now, residents can check the Lilly Center’s website to see weekly readings: