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Water Quality Update for August 19, 2019

Since Friday’s update we have had a lot of rain and some wind. That has helped to keep the surface concentrations of blue green algae (BGA) fairly low in most areas. Please remember that this is a 10,500 acre lake with 36 miles of shoreline- so there can be some significant variability. Both watershed staff and volunteers were active over the weekend and today completing surveys and research on the lake. I was out with DEC staff on Sunday sampling multiple sections of the northern third of the lake and there were low concentrations (well below bloom threshold) levels of BGA. We did have a volunteer collect one sample this morning in the Crystal Beach area that had a concentration above bloom levels. That sample has been sent for further testing for toxins. However, the vast majority of the lake is not seeing bloom conditions at this point (that can change quickly).

We also had three beach closures on Friday- Deep Run beach on the east side, Schoolhouse Beach (Butler Beach) and Yacht Club beach, both on the west side due to visual observations of BGA. State DOH staff were out today collecting samples at those beaches to determine if they can open. We should have results late tomorrow afternoon or Wednesday.

This afternoon we have been seeing large quantities of watermeal and some duckweed washing up on the east side of the lake. The watermeal can look like HABs from a distance. They are very tiny granular plants (bead like) that get washed out of the Hi-Tor wetland system at the south end of the lake. We are also getting a lot of aquatic plants washing up on the shore with the end of the growing season. We also saw foam streaks (west to east) occurring today. The foam is seen on other finger lakes and is the breakdown of organic matter (typically plant material) into a surfactant. If you are not sure if it is watermeal or a HAB- please feel free to contact us.

Overall- our clarity is still holding ok- with secchi disk measurements ranging from 5-5.4 meters on Sunday. Open water surface samples collected in multiple locations indicated levels that well below bloom concentrations. However, isolated blooms are still occurring so please use your visual indicators to determine if there is a bloom. I have described our current HABs as sort of like the game “Whack a Mole”- we think we see it in one spot and then it pops up in another spot. The low level isolated blooms are tough to describe and predict- but it is better than having lake wide blooms! We will continue to provide updates as more information comes in or conditions change. We highly encourage you to call or email if you have any questions.

Kevin Olvany

Watershed Council Program Manager

Lindsay McMillian

Watershed Association Director

More Information on Blue Green Algae

Click below for our Harmful Algae Bloom brochure.

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