Central New York, Community, Environment

Harmful algae blooms expected in Skaneateles this summer

Algae Blooms Script

by Karthik Venkataraman, SKANEATELES, N.Y. (NCC News)–

There’sbad news for Skaneateles.

There are still blooms expected to show up when the lake warms up in late July through late September.

The water is usually so clean at Skaneateles Lake you can drink straight out of it, but last summer people wouldn’t dare due to the harmful algae blooms.

If there is any good news, according to Gregory Boyer, who runs New York’s blue-green algae testing labs, as of now the harmful algae blooms aren’t expected to be as bad as last year.

Timothy Davis, a biology associate professor of Biology at Bowling Green State University, and Boyer agree. Both have been keeping a close eye on the lake’s conditions. The more nitrogen and phosphorus that gets in the lake, the more algae we are likely to see.

Davis said heavier rain falls, like the one last July, are often what cause run off of nitrogen and phosphorus nutrients from the land into the lake.

But the root of the problem is still unsure.

“We know that half of the watershed is agriculture and about half, or 40 percent, of the watershed is forest,” Davis said. “There could be multiple culprits of nutrients into the lake.”

He says climate change could cause more rain in the future, which could make Skaneateles Lake more susceptible for years to come.

Davis said residents can help by changing their septic tanks and limiting fertilizer use. Here is a link with information on Skaneateles’ watershed management program, http://cceonondaga.org/environment/skaneateles-lake.

Residents are deeply concerned this could happen again. Many walk nearby this lake every day or go swimming in it during the summers. Some said they moved here because the lake was such an attraction.

“I felt really hurt and scared when I found out learned more (on the harmful algae blooms,” resident Shelley Singh said. “To lose the water would truly break my heart.”

They hope their summer isn’t cut short like last year with the blooms.

For information on the algae and its dangers, you can check out https://www.epa.gov/nutrientpollution/harmful-algal-blooms.