Here is an article with a good picture of cyanobacteria. I don’t have confidence with their descrption of where it can be found in water or how it should be treated. I also don’t have confidence recommending which country is an expert on cyanobacteria. I do have confidence stating there are huge gaps internationally regarding cyanobacteria so extreme caution should be used both in how to identify it and treat it. Here is a report report74_management_strategies_BGA (2) from Australia that I think is worth reading – even it recommends consulting a cyanobacteria expert and another website that gives good information about cyanobacteria species. I’m not a scientist, I just like to read and find conflicting information so please consult with an expert on this topic rather than follow my ramblings. Thanks.
Blue-green algae is visible on water in the Devils Lake area. Blue-green algae can pose a health threat to livestock and wild animals.
Several livestock deaths have been attributed to blue-green algae poisoning in North Dakota recently, putting livestock producers and veterinarians on alert.
Cases usually occur in late summer or early fall, when stagnant ponds and the right nutrient conditions allow for overgrowth of algae, according to Gerald Stokka, North Dakota State University Extension veterinarian and livestock stewardship specialist. However, this spring’s mild weather and warm water have been ideal conditions for algae blooms to occur.
Blue-green algae, also known as cyanobacteria, typically grow in stagnant, warm pond water. When the algae die, they produce a toxin that is poisonous to most livestock and wildlife, including ducks, geese, rabbits, muskrats, frogs, fish and snakes.
Under favorable conditions, blue-green algae can double in number in 24 hours, and these blooms can turn pond water blue to brownish green.
“A close watch for unexplained livestock deaths is important,” Stokka says. “Consult a veterinarian to find a cause of death so steps can be taken to prevent additional livestock deaths.”
He also urges producers to take note of any dead wildlife around bodies of water because that could be an indication of blue-green algae in the water. The algae flourish only in the top few inches of water, so toxic concentrations typically are found just in small ponds where waves don’t mix the water thoroughly. Blue-green algae blooms do not occur in lakes and rivers.
A veterinarian can help determine if a particular pond has toxic concentrations of the algae, Stokka says.
Another option is to send a water sample to the NDSU Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory. The lab also can diagnose a blue-green algae problem in dead animals if someone sends a liver sample. For more information on how to submit samples, contact the lab at (701) 231-7527 or (701) 231-8307, or visit its website at http://www.vdl.ndsu.edu/.
If a pond contains toxic concentrations of blue-green algae, keep animals from drinking the water by fencing off the pond and providing another source of water. Because the toxins are concentrated at the surface, water may be pumped from the bottom of deep sloughs or potholes to watering tanks.
Generally, toxic algae blooms last only a few days, but they may persist for several weeks.
Small ponds that don’t drain into other waterways or bodies of water may need to be treated with copper sulfate or an algicide. Stokka recommends a treatment rate of 2 pounds of copper sulfate per acre-foot of water. That approximates a rate of 8 pounds per 1 million gallons.
Toxin levels increase immediately after treatment, so livestock should not be allowed to drink from treated ponds for a week.
For more information on detecting blue-green algae and protecting livestock from its toxins, contact your county office of the NDSU Extension Service. Ask for the publication “Cyanobacteria (Blue Green Algae) Poisoning.”
The Oregon Health Authority gives a much simpler definition of algae for those of us who aren’t plant biologists. Click here for the full article or read an excerpt below.
Kermit the frog sang the song “It isn’t easy being green” lamenting the troubles of being a frog. The blue-green I am referring to is blue-green algae. What is it and why should you care? First things first. According to Dictionary.com “algae are any of numerous groups of chlorophyll-containing, mainly aquatic eukaryotic organisms ranging from microscopic single-celled forms to multicellular forms 100 feet (30 meters) or more long, distinguished from plants by the absence of true roots, stems, and leaves and by a lack of nonreproductive cells in the reproductive structures: classified into six phyla Euglenophyta, Crysophyta, Pyrrophyta, Chlorophyta, Phaeophyta, and Rhodophyta. Blue-green algae are defined as “a widely distributed group of predominantly photosynthetic prokaryotic organisms of the subkingdom Cyanophyta, resembling phototrophic bacteria, occurring singly or in colonies in diverse habitats: some species can fix atmospheric nitrogen.” it is also called Cyanobacteria.
The Oregon Health Authority gives a much simpler definition of algae for those of us who aren’t plant biologists. They say “algae are microscopic plants that grow naturally in oceans and fresh water. Under certain conditions, some algae can grow into a large visible mass called a bloom.” The blue-green is one of the algae that produces toxins (poisons) that can cause serious illness or death in humans and even pets, wildlife, and livestock.
What does an algae bloom look like? Scientists describe blooms as looking like a scum or foam on the surface of the water that can appear in various colors such as white, brown, green, or in this case blue-green. Don’t let that fool you though because you can’t tell whether what appears to be an algae bloom is toxic or not just by looking at it. The water has to be tested to be sure. If the surface of a pond, lake, or reservoir looks suspicious to you (doesn’t aways look as green as the picture above) it’s better to stay out of direct contact with the water.
You might remember that last summer there were some blue-green algae advisories throughout Western Oregon which included Walterville Pond, Dorena Reservoir, Dexter Reservoir, and Tenmile Lake in Coos County. The one issued for Dexter Reservoir could not have come at a worse time considering it was issued July 3rd. just one day before crowds of people gathered along the shore for a 4th of July celebration with entertainment, food, and fireworks sponsored by the Dexter Volunteer Fire Department and the Lowell Volunteer Fire Department in conjunction with Eugene Daily News.
Despite the advisory some folks did go into the water and I know I saw a couple of dogs frolicking and splashing near the shore. I don’t know if anyone got sick, but they were taking an unnecessary risk. Being near the water or even boating, as long as you don’t get a heavy spray of water hitting the boaters, is not a problem. You must have direct contact with contaminated water. “Skin irritation or rash is the most commonly reported health effect. Other symptoms range from diarrhea, cramps and vomiting to fainting, numbness, dizziness, tingling and paralysis. The most severe reactions occur when large amounts of water are swallowed. The chronic effects of long-term exposure to algae toxins are being studied.”
If you enjoy a picnic, camping, or boating near area lakes and reservoirs you should make sure the water is not going to harm you, your family, or your pets.
This is not safe at all. Does our government and elected leaders understand that our Human Rights are at risk? Water.ca reports “there are literally thousands of different water systems in British Columbia—more than 3,000 public and community water systems under provincial jurisdiction and 468 small First Nations water systems under federal jurisdiction. While water systems share some common features, individual water systems are designed in different ways and will face specific issues and challenges.” Here is a ijerph-11-04634 (2) Drinking Water Quality Guidelines across Canadian Provinces 2014 that states more research is required due to the high degree of variability in drinking water management and oversight capacity between urban and rural areas. While research is recommended our water is being contaminated due to the lack of consistent drinking water standards across Canada. Add global warming and fracking to the mix and we have a recipe for disaster of unknown proportions. If you know of any other reports that should be archived, please forward it to me through a Comment below; I would be very grateful for your help. Sorry, I had quite a few problems getting this document to look and read correctly so I`ve given up. Please read it though. Thanks.
There are more than 3,300 water systems in B.C. The 96 systems
operating in large municipalities serve close to 90 per cent of the
population. The remaining 10 per cent of the population is served
by a variety of public and private systems:
• Small municipalities (57 systems);
• Regional district service areas (97 systems);
• Improvement districts (211 systems);
• Private water utilities (185 systems);
• Water users communities (118 systems);
• First Nation reserves (468 systems);
• Individual private wells and domestic licensees (est. 63,000);
• Others including Crown Corporations, industrial operations,
BC Parks and private campgrounds, mobile home parks,
restaurants and service stations (estimated 2100 systems).
Approximately 2,000 systems have fewer than 15 connections
Based on the conflicting number of water systems reported below, I don’t believe the BC Government has any idea how many water systems we have in BC. If that is true, then how can they have control over the safety of our water?
“there are 320 human icons on this report’s front cover. Each
represents a public servant who lost his or her job with British Columbia’s
Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection over the past three years. Colour
changes signify job losses in a new job category. The large mass of 128
purple icons on the bottom half of the page, for example, corresponds to
the 128 Scientific Technical Officers whose jobs were lost. For a complete
breakdown of job losses by category see page eight of this report.”
The above report further states:
Viewed in isolation, the cutbacks to the Ministry of Water, Land and Air
Protection may seem dramatic. When recent history is considered, however,
they take on added gravity.
Drawing on payroll and budget data from the provincial government it is
possible to arrive at figures on just how many people and/or full-time
equivalent positions were dropped from the public payroll over the past
Two ministries where substantial cuts occurred were MWLAP’s predecessor,
the Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks (MELP), and the Ministry of
Forests (MOF). Payroll data shows that between the years 1991 and 1996
employment in both ministries rose considerably. But from 1996 through
2000 employment levels steadily dropped.4
The number of regular MOF employees fell nearly 17 per cent from 4,590 to
3,823. In MELP the cuts were deeper, amounting to an even 22 per cent,
with the number of regular employees falling steadily from 2,336 in 1996 to
1,823 by 2000.
It also has a table which I’ve cut & paste below and states:
Two ministries where substantial cuts occurred were MWLAP`s predecessor, the Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks (MELP), and the Ministry of Forests (MOF). … MELP was subsequently split into two ministries – MWLAP and the Ministry of Sustainable Resource Management or MSRM.
Cuts resulted in employment declines by:
DATE MWLAP MSRM MOF
July 2001 1,317 FTEs 1,519 FTEs 4,083 FTEs
(1st Liberal budget)
Feb. 2004 924 FTEs 754 FTEs 2,942 FTEs
Total Lost 393 FTEs 765 FTEs 1,141 FTEs
Percentage Decline 29.8 % 50.4 % 27.9 %
I strongly recommend reading the whole report to understand how these cuts are going to affect us with respect to fracking in BC.
Here is another report from our Ombudsman dated 2008 that is well worth reading too.
Between Environmental Officers being let go and Scientists still working afraid to speak out how are we to know what is happening to our groundwater except for individuals like Jessica Ernst standing up for us to speak out on our behalf. She doesn’t need us, we need her. Click here for the source of the article and stand behind and support Jessica Ernst if you can. Thanks.
The Alberta Energy Regulator has also reported the contamination of a shallow aquifer by fracking fluids in Grand Prairie in 2012.
Industry, government and media “mantras” of fracking as problem-free industry stem from a near total absence of good science and proper groundwater monitoring across North America, Cherry said.
“I found no cases where rigorous groundwater monitoring has been done at any fracking pad. Exactly zero, not a single one. Anywhere, ever,” Cherry said during his recent Toronto talk.
Cherry also said that dismissive comments by Rich Coleman, British Columbia’s minister of Natural Gas Development, about water concerns and fracking weakened the industry’s social licence.
Last year, Coleman called a Vancouver Province editorial on the water impacts of shale gas fracking by geologist David Hughes and journalist Ben Parfitt as “unfounded and inaccurate.”
Cherry called such comments by a politician irresponsible. “As an expert, I know that British Columbia has invested very little money in the type of research and monitoring that it would need to make statements about shale gas being safe.”
An effective groundwater monitoring system, as first set out by Vancouver engineer Frank Patton in 1998, places measuring devices into specifically-designed wells that sample and track the movement of water contaminants over time and at various depths from a variety of locations. Not even the oilsands has set up such a basic system, said Cherry.
Given that industry spends millions of dollars on the fracking of unconventional deposits and often billions in certain regions, it is imperative that government funds basic research to protect groundwater and the atmosphere, he said.
Asked why government was reluctant to monitor a public resource as valuable as groundwater, the hydrologist replied that it costs money to monitor past societal mistakes. “Groundwater pollution develops slowly over years and decades. If there is anything that government can shrug off to the future, it’s groundwater.”
This is the most comprehensive warning I have read regarding what to do during a bloom. I do not agree with their statement regarding some “Not all blue-green algae strains produce toxins dangerous to people or pets, and not all blooms release toxins.” I don’t feel they know everything about cyanobacteria to make that statement when there are over 1100 different species and huge gaps within their knowledge base according to Cyanobacteria experts in 2004. Click here for the source or read an excerpt below.
A blue-green algae bloom at Lost Creek Lake may or may not be toxic to people and pets, but it proved fatal to a Free Fishing Weekend event planned there Saturday.
The Oregon Health Authority on Tuesday afternoon issued an advisory against water contact at the lake — the first advisory issued this year in Oregon — after the discovery of a large bloom of cyanobacteria at Jackson County’s largest water body, which prompted Oregon State Parks officials to cancel the annual fishing event.
Water tests showed more than 3.2 million cells per milliliter of Anabaena flos-aquae, a cyanobacteria that has bloomed regularly in late spring at the Rogue River reservoir 30 miles north of Medford, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which operates the lake.
Anabaena flos-aquae can produce potentially dangerous toxins, particularly when the bloom dies off. But not all blooms are toxic. The threshold for a public-health advisory in Oregon is 100,000 cells per milliliter.
State parks officials canceled the event Wednesday, but the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife still plans to release 5,250 rainbow trout there this week.
During advisories, people and pets are warned to avoid all water contact, but compliance is voluntary. Anglers are encouraged to practice catch-and-release fishing during advisories.
People who eat fish from algae-tainted waters should remove all fat, skin and organs before cooking, because toxins can collect there. People should not eat crayfish or freshwater shellfish taken from infested lakes during an advisory.
Boating and fishing are considered safe so long as boat speeds do not create excessive water spray, according to health officials.
Toxins cannot be filtered by standard camp filters or by boiling the water. In-home filtering systems cannot cleanse the water, though public treatment plants can reduce algae toxins through filtration and disinfection.
Exposure to toxins can produce symptoms of numbness, tingling and dizziness that can lead to difficulty breathing or heart problems, and require immediate medical attention. Symptoms of skin irritation, weakness, diarrhea, nausea, cramps and fainting should also receive medical attention if they persist or worsen.
Children and pets are at increased risk for exposure because of their size and level of activity.
The public will be advised when the concern no longer exists.
Not all blue-green algae strains produce toxins dangerous to people or pets, and not all blooms release toxins.
No confirmed human illnesses have been tied directly to an algae outbreak in Oregon. However, at least four dogs have died in recent years from toxins in water near the Umpqua River near Elkton.
This was interesting to listen to. I guess the tropical rainfalls are causing more fertilizer to runoff into the lakes and cause cyanobacteria blooms which kill our lakes and severely impact our drinking water. I can’t imagine where rainfall is going to end up (monsoons?) if the scientists are correct about temperature warming. Click here to hear the entire interview and the full transcription or read an excerpt below.
Jim Bruce – Well what we’re finding is that both for water quantities and water quality the changing climate which IPCC says is going to continue and get worse is having pretty serious effects, particularly as the atmosphere warms. We get more water vapour or what engineers like to call precipitable water in the atmosphere by 7% per every degree Celsius of warming and this means not that were getting more rainfall but that whenever the atmosphere gets organized to rain it rains more heavily so it doesn’t just rain, It pours and this means we’re getting more surface runoff events in the summer and in the off snow melt season.
Bob Brouse – When you talk about the hard precipitation these are what we all see on the lead on the news. These are these fierce storms that we’re speaking of. Is that the case?
Jim Bruce – Yes indeed and it is resulting in things like the big Toronto flood last year and the big flood in Calgary in June of last year.
Bob Brouse – And according to you this is because there is more water vapour in the air that wasn’t there before? What was the case before? I don’t even know how to put this. What was the case before?
Jim Bruce – Well, as I say, as the atmosphere warms it is able to hold more water vapour. It holds more water vapour to the tune of 7% for every 1 degree Celsius of warming.
Bob Brouse – Wow. So if the atmosphere gets 1 degree warmer globally it could hold 7% more water than it used to. That is what you are saying?
Jim Bruce – Yes.
Bob Brouse – That is amazing Jim. So the practical reality of this to cities around the world, I guess, is they have to deal and cope with more extreme weather. Besides that, is this more or less predictable? Like for instance, I know Milwaukee has been doing tremendous rainwater mitigation, trying to trap it and get it off the wastewater systems. Is this what you’re seeing around the world?
Jim Bruce – We’re not seeing as much good work as we are seeing in Milwaukee and a few other places but there needs to be a great deal of effort. I should say when we get those runoff events with the heavy rains, the runoff picks up lots of phosphorous and other contaminants from agricultural areas and also from cities and urban areas so when we look at the Great Lakes, Lake Erie is seriously back-sliding back in its eutrophic state and that’s because it’s getting more polluted runoff in these heavy rain events and there is apparently more phosphorous on the land and on the urban areas that gets into the runoff and into the lakes and is destroying the improvement that was made in Lake Erie back in the 1990s and early 2000s.
Cyanobacteria is a bacteria; it is not algae. It was once considered algae but it has been reclassified based on recent research. This is why it is also called Blue Green Algae. I found some information that explains the differences between dinoflagellates, cyanobacteria, and algae. I was getting confused so this should help clarify things. Click here for the source or read an excerpt below.
The word algae represents a large group of different organisms from different phylogenetic groups, representing many taxonomic divisions. In general algae can be referred to as plant-like organisms that are usually photosynthetic and aguatic, but do not have true roots, stems, leaves, vascular tissue and have simple reproductive structures. They are distributed worldwide in the sea, in freshwater and in moist situations on land. Most are microscopic, but some are quite large, e.g. some marine seaweeds that can exceed 50 m in length.
The algae have chlorophyll and can manufacture their own food through the process of photosynthesis. Recently they are classified in the kingdom of protiste, which comprise a variety of unicellular and some simple multinuclear and multicellular eukaryotic organisms that have cells with a membrane-bound nucleus.
Almost all the algae are eukaryotes and conduct photosynthesis within membrane bound structure called chloroplasts, which contain DNA. The exact nature of the chloroplasts is different among the different lines of algae. Cyanobacteria are organisms traditionally included among the algae, but they have a prokaryotic cell structure typical of bacteria and conduct photosynthesis directly within the cytoplasm, rather than in specialized organelles.
Types of algae
The main phylogenetic groups of algae are , :
Diatoms: unicellular organisms of the kingdom protista, characterized by a silica shell of often intricate and beautiful sculpturing. Most diatoms exist singly, although some join to form colonies. They are usually yellowish or brownish, and are found in fresh- and saltwater, in moist soil, and on the moist surface of plants. Fresh-water and marine diatoms appear in greatest abundance early in the year as part of the phenomenon known as the spring bloom, which occurs as a result of the availablity of both light and (winter-regenerated) nutrients. They reproduce asexually by cell division. When aguatic diatoms die they drop to the bottom, and the shells, not being subject to decay, collect in the ooze and eventually form the material known as diatomaceous earth. Diatoms can occur in a more compact form as a soft, chalky, lightweight rock, called diatomite. Diatomite is used as an insulating material against both heat and sound, in making dynamite and other explosives, and for filters, abrasives, and similar products. Diatoms have deposited most of the earth’s limestone, and much petroleum is of diatom origin. The surface mud of a pond, ditch, or lagoon will almost always yield some diatoms.
Chlorophyta: division of the kingdom of protista consisting of the photosyntetic organism commonly known as green algae. The various species can be unicellular, multi-cellular, coenocytic (having more than one nucleus in a cell), or colonial. Chlorophyta are largely aguatic or marine, a few types are terrestrial, occurring on moist soil, on the trunks of trees, on moist rocks and in snow banks. Various species are highly specialized.
Euglenophyta: small phylum of the kingdom protista, consisting of mostly unicellular aguatic algae. Some euglenoids contain chloroplasts with the photosynthetic pigments; others are heterotrophic and can ingest or absorb their food. Reproduction occurs by longitudinal cell division. Most live in freshwater. The most characteristic genus is Euglena, common in ponds and pools, especially when the water has been polluted by runoff from fields or lawns on which fertilizers have been used. There are approximately 1000 species of euglenoids.
Dinoflagellata: large group of flagellate protistis. Some species are heterotrophic, but many are photosynthetic organisms containing chlorophyll. Various other pigments may mask the green of these chlorophylls. Other species are endosymbionts of marine animals and protozoa, and play an important part in the biology of coral reefs. Other dinoflagellates are colorless predators on other protozoa, and a few forms are parasitic. Reproduction for most dinoflagellates is asexual, through simple division of cells following mitosis. The dinoflagellates are important constituents of plankton, and as such are primary food sources in warmer oceans. Many forms are phosphorescent; they are largely responsible for the phosphorescence visible at night in tropical seas. There are approximately 2000 species of dinoflagellates.
Chrysophyta: large group of eukariotyes algae commonly called golden algae, found mostly in freshwater. Originally they were taken to include all such forms except the diatoms and multicellular brown algae, but since then they have been divided into several different groups based on pigmentation and cell structure. In many chrysophytes the cell walls are composed of cellulose with large quantities of silica. Formerly classified as plants, they contain the photosynthetic pigments chlorophyll a and c. Under some circumstances they will reproduce sexually, but the usual form of reproduction is cell division.
Phaeophyta: phylum of the kingdom protista consisting of those organisms commonly called brown algae. Many of the world’s familiar seaweeds are members of phaeophyta. Like the chrysophytes brown algae derive their color from the presence, in the cell chloroplasts, of several brownish carotenoid pigments, as fucoxathin. With only a few exceptions, brown algae are marine, growing in the colder oceans of the world, many in the tidal zone, where they are subjected to great stress from wave action; others grow in deep water. There are approximately 1500 species of phaeophyta.
Rhodophyta: phylum of the kingdom protista consisting of the photosynthetic organisms commonly known as red algae. Members of the division have a characteristic clear red or purplish color imparted by accessory pigments called phycobilins. The red algae are multicellular and are characterized by a great deal of branching, but without differentiation into complex tissues. Most of the world’s seaweeds belong to this group. Although red algae are found in all oceans, they are most common in warm-temperate and tropical climates, where they may occur at greater depths than any other photosynthetic organisms. Most of the coralline algae, which secrete calcium carbonate and play a major role in building reefs, belong here. Red algae are a traditional part of oriental cuisine. There are 4000 known marine species of red algae; a few species occur in freshwater.
Cyanobacteria: phylum of prokaryotic aguatic bacteria that obtain their energy through photosynthesis. They are often referred to as blue-green algae, even though it is now known that they are not related to any of the other algal groups, which are all eukaryotes. Cyanobacteria may be single-celled or colonial. Depending upon the species and environmental conditions, colonies may form filaments, sheets or even hollow balls. Some filamentous colonies show the ability to differentiate into three different cell types.Despite their name, different species can be red, brown, or yellow; blooms (dense masses on the surface of a body of water) of a red species are said to have given the Red Sea its name. There are two main sorts of pigmentation. Most cyanobacteria contain chlorophyll a, together with various proteins called phycobilins, which give the cells a typical blue-green to grayish-brown colour. A few genera, however, lack phycobilins and have chlorophyll b as well as a, giving them a bright green colour.
Unlike bacteria, which are heterotrophic decomposers of the wastes and bodies of other organisms, cyanobacteria contain the green pigment chlorophyll (as well as other pigments), which traps the energy of sunlight and enables these organisms to carry on photosynthesis. Cyanobacteria are thus autotrophic producers of their own food from simple raw materials. Nitrogen-fixing cyanobacteria need only nitrogen and carbon dioxide to live: they are able to fix nitrogen gas, which cannot be absorbed by plants, into ammonia (NH3), nitrites (NO2) or nitrates (NO3), which can be absorbed by plants and converted to protein and nucleic acids.
Cyanobacteria are found in almost every conceivable habitat, from oceans to fresh water to bare rock to soil. Cyanobacteria produce the compounds responsible for earthy odors we detect in soil and some bodies of water. The greenish slime on the side of your damp flowerpot, the wall of
your house or the trunk of that big tree is more likely to be cyanobacteria than anything else. Cyanobacteria have even been found on the fur of polar bears, to which they impart a greenish tinge. In short, Cyanobacteria have no one habitat because you can find them almost anywhere in the world.
Is this a sign of the Tipping Point? Click here to read the full article or an excerpt below.
“It’s bad news. It’s a game changer,” said Ted Scambos, lead scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center, who wasn’t part of either study. “We thought we had a while to wait and see. We’ve started down a process that we always said was the biggest worry and biggest risk from West Antarctica.”
The Rignot study sees eventually 1.2 meters of sea level rise from the melt. But it could trigger neighboring ice sheet loss that could mean a total of 3 to 3.7 metresof sea level rise, the study in Science said, and Rignot agreed.
The recent reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change don’t include melt from West Antarctic or Greenland in their projections and this would mean far more sea level rise, said Sridhar Anandakrishnan, professor of geosciences at Pennsylvania State University. That means sea level rise by the year 2100 is likely to be about three feet, he said.