Observation Dates: August 12-19, 2019
% Zones Monitored: 83% Suspicious Blooms: 0 Confirmed Blooms: 0
Our second week of monitoring the shoreline of Seneca Lake is now complete. Unlike other Finger Lakes in the area, we found no blooms. As an example, both Canandaigua and Keuka have reported blooms this past week. Our 120 volunteers will keep monitoring Seneca shores for another 8 weeks and we will provide you with a Bloom Watch update each week summarizing our findings. As we have indicated in previous articles, early September seems to be the time when conditions are right and blooms take off on our lake. This year could be different. We will have to wait and see. Choppy water seems to be the norm for late summer this year. Remember, very seldom do we see blooms form when we have rough water. Warm temperatures, plenty of sunlight and calm water are the conditions the blooms like the most.
Let’s Keep our Pets Safe – VERY IMPORTANT
This past week, I have received numerous emails from different sources reporting dog deaths due to HABs/Cyanobacteria. Fortunately, there has been no harm to dogs in our area that we are aware of. Remember, this is a bacteria we are dealing with. You need to keep pets away from blooms when they are occurring. Of course, this guidance applies to humans as well.
For your reference, I am including some very important information you should take a couple minutes to read if you have a dog living with you on the lake or if you have company coming to the lake who might be bringing a dog along. Please reference this very well done brochure from the DEC for guidance and suggestions. Dogs and Harmful Algae Blooms
We normally do not see blooms with cool temperatures. What is happening with air temperature globally? Here is a quote from the USA Today:
July is Earth’s hottest month ever recorded Doyle Rice USA TODAY July 2019 was the Earth’s hottest month on record, federal scientists announced Thursday. The global temperature for July was 62.13 degrees Fahrenheit, which was 1.71 degrees higher than the average for the 20th century, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said. It beat the previous record warm month, which was July 2016.
Warmer air temperatures through the summer clearly impacts our water temperature on Seneca and could cause blooms to occur earlier, if the other conditions are right.
But what about water temperatures of Seneca Lake? All kinds of information is available, but I had an interesting report from Jim Bromka, Director of Water Treatment & Environmental Lab, NELAP, this past week. See comment from Jim below:
Wow! Beautiful water this a.m. Clear and cold. Only 8.8 degrees C or 47 degrees F. (from 55’ depth) Not typical. I haven’t seen this cold of raw water in August in recent memory. Great for drinking water.
Jim (on the right), and guest Matt Driscoll are discussing how vital filtration is and how we are constantly checking the water coming in and leaving his village of Waterloo plant on Seneca. Good to have experts like Jim on top of the HABs situation and working hard every day to keep us safe by providing the highest quality water possible.
And finally, here is an interesting quote from John Halfman, Professor at Hobart William and Smith college:
Interestingly, the surface water has been warmer this year than in the past but the warmth hasn’t extended as deep as years past.
As you can tell, there is a lot to think about in the temperature area. In future Bloom Watch newsletters, we will take a deeper dive into some of the great work being done to collect specific scientific temperature data utilizing buoys and our own Pure Waters Dock Stations that have been strategically placed around the lake at 4 locations.
Every issue of Bloom Watch will include pictures of confirmed blooms that have been sampled on our Lake. We will do this to help you spot blooms if and when they occur in your area. See photos below:
What is one of the best things I can do to stay on top of Bloom Status on Seneca?
We highly recommend you become very comfortable accessing the Seneca Lake Pure Waters Website information at senecalake.org for the most current information. In addition, if you live on the lake, it might be a good idea to check with neighbors and determine who your local Shoreline Survey Volunteer is. All of our volunteers are a wealth of information and a good person to know. Our 120+ volunteers are well distributed around the lake and many residents have regular conversations with our volunteers as they survey our shores on a regular basis
In addition, we always encourage our readers to become members of Pure Waters, if you have not joined already. We can use your support and help as we work hard to accomplish our mission of Preserving, Protecting and Promoting Seneca Lake Water Quality. Click here if you would like to become a member now. Those who need to renew and know their login information can click here to renew.
I look forward to keeping you up to date as we progress through our HABs/Cyanobacteria season. Enjoy the rest of your summer!!
Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association
HAB FACTS: What you need to know!
Exposure to any cyanobacteria HABs can cause health effects in people and animals when water with blooms is touched, swallowed, or when airborne droplets are inhaled. This is true regardless of toxin levels; some blue-green algae produce toxins, while others do not. Exposure to blooms and toxins can cause symptoms such as diarrhea, nausea or vomiting; skin, eye or throat irritation and allergic reactions or breathing difficulties.
Because blue-green algal bloom conditions change rapidly over time, the best prevention is to take steps to avoid waters with visible blooms:
People, pets, and livestock should avoid areas with blooms or surface scums, or water that is noticeably discolored.
Avoid blooms when swimming, boating, fishing, and don’t eat fish caught from areas of water with blooms.
If you or your pets are exposed to blue-green algal blooms, stop using the water and rinse off with clean water.
Consider medical attention for people and animals if symptoms such as diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting; skin, eye, or throat irritation; and allergic reactions or breathing difficulties occur after contact with surface waters with blooms.
Never drink untreated surface water. Even if you treat it in your home with water filtration, chlorine, ultraviolet (UV) light, or other treatment; it’s still not protected from blue-green algae and toxins.