ONTARIO COUNTY, N.Y. (WROC) — Over a dozen confirmed cases of toxic algae have been found on Canandaigua Lake and many other Finger Lakes have seen the same. As we enter into August and September, some groups are working to fight these blooms as a community.
Odell Beverly enjoys Canandaigua lake, but keeps an eye on Harmful Algal Blooms, or HABs. “I walk down to get my exercise and I look at the water to see if there’s a difference in it,” said Beverly.
The water on Monday was clear at Kershaw Park, but there were some reports of toxic algae a few miles south. According to Jim Howe, some of those reports did not turn out to be cyanobacteria that is harmful to humans, but he said it is something we need to be concerned with heading into the second half of summer.
“The real problem season comes now. August and September are when we start to see more blooms as the lakes warm,” said Howe, executive director of the Finger Lakes branch of the Nature Conservancy.
The conservancy recently teamed up with the town of Naples, the Canandaigua Lake Watershed Council, and the NYS DEC on a project to help mitigate storm runoff, the major contributor to these HABs. They did so by installing culverts to “restore the hydrology of Naples Creek”
A few years ago, the Nature Conservancy bought an 85-acre property in the Naples Creek floodplain that we’ll be shunting water to during storm events. The floodplain and wetlands will naturally filter the water during storm events, removing sediment and nutrients that would otherwise be shunted directly into Canandaigua Lake. – Jim Howe
Tom Cipro worked in the coast guard for many years and now lives in Canandaigua. His daily walks with his dog Lola include monitoring the waters. “I haven’t seen it at all, and I kind of watch for it in the daytime,” said Cipro.
The Canandaigua Lake Watershed Association is using 41 volunteers to regularly monitor Canandaigua lake this year. The time frame will be from August 3 to October 4.
Many other lakes have seen HABs this year that continue to pose threats to people, pets, and the overall health of the Finger Lakes. You can find the public data on reports here.