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Keuka Lake group cites water clarity, algae ADVERTISEMENT

Keuka Lake group cites water clarity, algae

KEUKA LAKE--During the state of the lake report at the Keuka Lake Association's (KLA) annual meeting Saturday, July 11, KLA President Bill Laffin stated that even though water quality has improved somewhat, the lake algae levels have also increased in 2014. Speaking to the association members in the Dahlstrom Student Center at Keuka College, Laffin reported nutrient levels have decreased in the lake some 2.6 parts per billion (ppb) between 2013 and 2014. He said water clarity (allowing to see) was almost two meters deeper than what it has been long-term. He described the 2014 state of the lake as being in generally good health with improving trends in several areas, but added clearer water has also led to nearly 1 ppb in additional algae growth.
Laffin showed a slide at the meeting indicating phosphorus nutrient levels averaged 3.9 ppb in 2014, which is down 2.6 ppb from 2013. He added this number is well below the long-term average of 7.3 ppb.
One of the ways they test water clarity on Keuka Lake is by using a Secchi Disk, which is lowered into the water with rope and measured how far down it goes before those in the boat can no longer see it. The average water clarity distance was visibility at 7.8 meters in water depth, which is similar to the 2013 levels. When compared to the long-term average of 6.1 meters, the past years have been 1.7 meters better.
However, Laffin said there is also an increase in algae growth in the lake. He said the clearer the water is, the deeper the sunlight can penetrate into the lake, which fosters more algae growth. The year 2014 averaged 1.62 ppb, which was up 0.9 ppb from 2013. Despite the increase, this number is still below the long-term average of 2.6 ppb.
Laffin also cautioned the lake could still see more blooms of algae as a result of the high amount of phosphorus dumped into the lake during the May 2014 flash flooding, referring to it as a possible "aftershock" of the event.
Laffin added the chlorophyll and phosphorus levels saw a slight bump up in July of last year then came back down, adding both are below the desired long-term level.
Laffin stated the submersible water quality probe donated to college last year indicated very low cyanobacteria (blue green algae) levels in Keuka Lake. He mentioned the thing that really helps Keuka Lake in this regard is its natural flow, adding there tends to be more blue green algae in lakes that are more stagnant.

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