2016 HAB Program

In 2015, Owasco Lake Watershed Inspection and Protection Division, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), the Cayuga County Department of Health, and the Owasco Watershed Lake Association (OWLA) joined efforts to better monitor Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) in Owasco Lake. 2015 results can be found here

We were able to expand the 2016 Program due to a generous funding increase from NYSDEC. We were allocated funds to allow for analysis of 80 HAB samples to help:

  1. the community better understand the occurrence of blooms on the lake and whether they contain high toxins, and

  2. formulate trends that may develop between bloom location, time of the year, water temperature, toxicity, and bloom density.

In order to improve our lake surveillance, 24 monitoring zones were created around Owasco Lake. OWLA volunteers surveyed and monitored the section of shoreline in their assigned zones every Monday from early July through early October. When blooms were observed, volunteers collected and provided them to the Inspection and Protection Division to be transported to laboratories for analysis.

In May 2016, NYSDEC HAB coordinators held two training sessions for volunteers. Training sessions provided program information including: how to recognize the visual cues of a bloom, the proper technique for sampling, and how to best document blooms they observe. Volunteer citizen scientists allow constant HAB surveillance the Inspection Program could not carry out alone.  Results for the 2016 HAB season can be found below.

It is impossible to predict a bloom, so watershed residents and visitors should be aware of how to recognize blooms. The New York State and Cayuga County Department of Health (DOH) have adopted the slogan of “Know It-Avoid It-Report It.”

 

  • Know It: Harmful Algal Blooms come in many forms and look very different; the common cues are spilled paint, streaks on the water surface, pea soup color, or small green dots suspended in the water column.

  • Avoid It: HABs may contain toxins that can cause skin irritation, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and many other illnesses. Never drink water that may have been drawn from an area that is experiencing a bloom and avoid all recreational activities near a bloom.

  • Report It: Blooms can be reported to the Owasco Lake Watershed Inspection and Protection Division at (315) 427-5188, or to the NYSDOH at harmfulalgae@health.ny.gov. If you or your pets experience any symptoms that may be related to a HAB, please contact your family doctor and/or report the illness to the Cayuga County DOH.

 
Report a Harmful Algal Bloom

2016 Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) Results Summaries

October 2016 HAB Summary

*Above the NYSDEC Blue-Green Chlorophyll-a threshold of 25 micrograms per liter (ug/L)

**Above DEC Microcystin threshold of 20 micrograms per Liter (ug/L)

BDL indicates toxin levels Below Detectable Limits

September 19-30, 2016 HAB Summary

*Above the NYSDEC Blue-Green Chlorophyll-a threshold of 25 micrograms per liter (ug/L)

**Above DEC Microcystin threshold of 20 micrograms per Liter (ug/L)

BDL indicates toxin levels Below Detectable Limits

August 28-September 18, 2016 HAB Summary

*Above the NYSDEC Blue-Green Chlorophyll-a threshold of 25 micrograms per liter (ug/L)

**Above DEC Microcystin threshold of 20 micrograms per Liter (ug/L)

BDL indicates toxin levels Below Detectable Limits

August 2016 HAB Summary

*Above the NYSDEC Blue-Green Chlorophyll-a threshold of 25 micrograms per liter (ug/L)

**Above DEC Microcystin threshold of 20 micrograms per Liter (ug/L)

BDL indicates toxin levels Below Detectable Limits

July 2016 HAB Summary

*Above the NYSDEC Blue-Green Chlorophyll-a threshold of 25 micrograms per liter (ug/L)

**Above DEC Microcystin threshold of 20 micrograms per Liter (ug/L)

BDL indicates toxin levels Below Detectable Limits

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Copyright Owasco Lake Watershed Inspection Program 2016

(unless otherwise noted)