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Harmful algae blooms appear in Seneca ADVERTISEMENT

Harmful algae blooms appear in Seneca

HECTOR (9/7/2016)--The Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association (SLPWA) has confirmed the presence of potentially harmful algae at two locations on Seneca Lake. Lake water samples taken the last week of August have confirmed, for the first time this summer, the presence of cyanobacteria, commonly referred to as Blue-Green Algae (BGA) or Harmful Algae Blooms (HABs), on Seneca Lake. Hobart and William Smith College's Finger Lakes Institute (FLI) and SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY ESF) tested samples from the two locations. These included the Perry Point area near Dresden and the Hector shoreline north of Glen Eldridge Point. Levels of cyanobacteria that are considered harmful to people and animals were found in both locations.
SLPWA added several other visual reports of suspicious algae blooms have been reported from around the lake this past week. The group noted HABs have the following characteristics:
• pea soup consistency.
• a blue, green, or white spilled paint look.
• green dots in the water, or green globs on the water surface.
• parallel streaks, usually green.
"Contact with such waters by people or animals should be avoided when blooms are present because blooms produce toxins that can have harmful effects from skin irritation to lung, liver and nervous system problems depending on the exposure," according to SLPWA. "These toxins have been known to be fatal in animals that have been exposed, since they often groom by licking their skin or fur."
This is the second year in a row that cyanobacteria has been confirmed in Seneca Lake, with three confirmed occurrences during the late summer of 2015. SLPWA claims conditions are "ripe" for the continuing HABs blooms as long as the warm weather and water conditions remain.
HABs occur in nutrient-rich waters. Cyanobacteria can "fix" nitrogen from the air, but it also needs phosphorus for its growth. SLPWA's stream monitoring program has shown the major streams that empty into Seneca Lake are high in phosphorus, which undoubtedly contributes to the occurrence of blooms.
SLPWA in collaboration with FLI and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has been monitoring the shoreline of Seneca Lake since early July on a weekly basis to detect the occurrence of HABs. This effort is responsible for the detection of HABs reported last week. Such monitoring will continue until Oct. 1.
In addition, SLPWA maintains two hotlines for anyone to report suspicious algae by phone or email. SLPWA encourages anyone who sees a suspicious bloom to notify the group so they can investigate.
People can call 1-800-220-1609 and give the call center responder the information. The call center may ask a few specifics about the bloom. That call is immediately transcribed and reaches a volunteer within minutes. The DEC will also be notified.
Residents may also send an email to giving date, time, location with closest road or GPS coordinates, photo and contact information for the person making the report. The DEC will also be notified.

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