Governor Cuomo unveiled the 12th proposal of the 2018 State of the State, which will implementing a $65 million 4-point initiative to combat harmful algal blooms in Upstate New York.
Twelve lakes that are vulnerable to HABs were chosen as priority waterbodies for the initiative, because they represent a wide range of conditions and vulnerabilities.
Those lakes are:
- Conesus Lake;
- Honeoye Lake;
- Chautauqua Lake
- Owasco Lake;
- Skaneateles Lake;
- Cayuga Lake
North Country Group:
- Lake Champlain at Port Henry;
- New York portion of Lake Champlain at Isle La Motte watershed;
- Lake George
Greater Hudson Valley Group:
- Lake Carmel;
- Palmer Lake;
- Putnam Lake;
- Monhagen Brook watershed, including the five reservoirs serving the Middletown area
The State’s Water Quality Rapid Response Team will hold four Regional Summits to bring together nation-leading experts with Steering Committees of local stakeholders established for each lake.
The Rapid Response Team, national experts, and local stakeholders will collaboratively develop Action Plans to identify contributing factors fueling HABs and the state will provide $500,000 per lake to develop immediate action plans to reduce sources of pollution that spark algal blooms. The state will provide nearly $60 million in grant funding to implement the Action Plans, including new monitoring and treatment technologies.
Last year, Governor Cuomo invested more than $2 million to construct state-of-the-art water treatment systems in the city of Auburn and town of Owasco to remove algal toxins from drinking water supplies, and established the Finger Lakes Water Hub to study algal blooms, work with local agencies and researchers, and undertake pollution reduction projects. Additionally, the State granted over $700,000 and expedited permits to Cayuga County for its Owasco Flats Wetlands Restoration initiative, designed to prevent nutrients from flowing into Owasco Lake.
In 2017, more than 100 beaches were closed for at least part of the summer due to HABs, and Skaneateles Lake, the source of unfiltered drinking water for several communities including the city of Syracuse, was threatened by algal blooms for the first time.