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More toxic algae on Seneca Lake ADVERTISEMENT

More toxic algae on Seneca Lake

SENECA LAKE--Following two confirmed cases of toxic algae on Seneca Lake in August, one more location has tested positive for potentially harmful algae. Lake water samples taken Sept. 19 at Kime Beach in Geneva have confirmed new blooms of cyanobacteria (commonly referred to as Blue-Green Algae (BGA) or Harmful Algae Blooms (HABs)) on Seneca Lake this season. This follows two weeks of no new reports of cyanobacteria blooms on the lake. The last such cyanobacteria blooms were reported the last week of August at Perry Point and the Hector shoreline.
Hobart and William Smith College's Finger Lakes Institute (FLI) and SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY ESF) tested the samples from two locations along Kime Beach and found levels of cyanobacteria that are considered harmful to people and animals in both samples. Several other visual reports of suspicious algae blooms have been reported from around the lake during this summer season.
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. 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. Conditions are "ripe" for the continuing HABs 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 that the major streams that empty into Seneca Lake are high in phosphorus, which undoubtedly contributes to the occurrence of blooms.
SLPWA volunteers in collaboration with FLI and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) have 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 throughout the summer, including those reported Sept. 19. Such monitoring will continue until the end of September.

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