Yesterday we experienced significant streaking and surface scum accumulations of blue green algae (cyanobacteria) along several shoreline areas. Twelve samples were collected as part of the shoreline HABs network and were brought to the Finger Lakes Institute for screening with the Fluoroprobe. If samples come back with high levels of blue-green chlorophyll a through this screening process (confirming bloom status), they will be sent on to the DEC’s designated lab for toxin analysis. While FLI results should be forthcoming in a few days, the toxin analysis can take much longer. This emphasizes the need to use extreme caution when recreating in the lake.
Although yesterday’s blooms were not experienced lake-wide, the areas they were observed were severe in some cases. Reported blooms were seen in coves, shallow beach areas, by docks, or trapped in corners of a break wall – all areas where blooms get pushed by wave and wind action. Unfortunately, these easy-access areas are also where people are most likely to enter the water or have their pets swim. This time of year, it may not be worth the risk of having pets swim in the lake. Even areas that look clear may not be low-risk.
With the cooler weather and periods of rain forecasted the next week to ten days, it may alleviate some of the chances of HABs – or it may not. We are still learning what triggers blooms, and we cannot predict when or where there will occur. However, we do know that they seem to pop on the calmest of days – days with no wind, and very little water movement to mix surface layers.
Please continue to follow the recommendations of the NYS DEC and NYS Department of Health before recreating in the lake. Please remember that pets are especially vulnerable to harmful algae blooms. Check out the DEC photo gallery for examples of what to look for with blue green algae.
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.
Each of the public water suppliers continue to sample their water and the treated water results are all non-detectable for the microcystin toxin.
Questions? Send to HABS@canandaigualakeassoc.org.
Kevin Olvany Lindsay McMillan
Watershed Program Manager Association Director
Canandaigua Lake Watershed Council Canandaigua Lake Watershed Council