A fisher cups algae-choked water from China's Chaohu Lake in 2009.
There are no easy fixes for algae blooms, said USC's Caron. Many times, the solutions people have come up with to eradicate an algae bloom just introduce new problems.
One technique that some have tried is sprinkling copper sulfate onto the blooms. Copper kills the algae, but the metal can also be harmful to other organisms, he explained. (Learn about copper sulfate.)
Other people have tried spraying fine particles of clay onto a bloom, which clumps up the algae. Once the clumps are heavy enough, they sink to the bottom, Caron said, where they settle on the sediment.
"The difficulty there [is] you're taking a potentially toxic algae that's spread out [on the surface] and concentrating them on the bottom," smothering bottom-dwelling organisms in toxic materials, he explained.
In any case, these are all temporary strategies—Caron isn't currently aware of any truly effective solution to treat algae blooms.
Education "and prevention are probably better strategies."