As we head into the Labor Day weekend, there are a lot of question on which public beaches will be open for swimming. The Department of Health has completed another round of sampling for the beaches this week, and based on the results, Deep Run Beach, Onanda Beach and Butler (Schoolhouse) Beach will remain closed at this time. Test results are indicating that the microcystin toxin levels still exceed the state threshold for re-opening, which is 4 ug/L (micrograms per liter). Kershaw beach was tested and the results allowed the beach to be reopened. At this time Kershaw Beach and Vine Valley Beach remain open.
These results emphasize the need to use caution as we head into the long weekend. Many areas of the lake are well below bloom conditions, but we know conditions can change quickly, so continue to use your visual indicators before entering the lake (check out the DEC photo gallery for examples of blue green algae). Please remember that pets are especially vulnerable to harmful algae blooms.
What about the areas that show “dots in the water”? Are those areas safe?
This is a question we get very frequently. Most of us are becoming more educated on what a bloom is and can make our own visual assessments – we know to avoid streaks, surface scum, or green water (spilled paint). However, there are other lake conditions that aren’t so clear cut. Significantly reduced clarity and/or “dots in the water” can be early indicators of an emerging bloom, so is best to still use caution in these areas. The limited toxin results from the beach samples are indicating toxins can occur in areas not experiencing blooms. With conditions changing so frequently due to varying factors - lack of wind to mix up surface waters, sunny conditions – these areas that look relatively harmless can quickly form into blooms if the conditions are just right.
Each of the public water supplies continue to sample their water and the treated water results are all non-detectable for the microcystin toxin.
We will try to keep the public updated. As always, you can visit the maps that are generated from our shoreline monitoring program and the NYS DEC NYHABS page to see the most current HABs reports.
Heading into the long weekend, we encourage everyone to continue to use good judgment when recreating in the water.
Questions? Send to HABS@canandaigualakeassoc.org.
Watershed Program Manager
Canandaigua Lake Watershed Council
CLWA Association Director