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N.Y. State Website Aims to Find That Blooming Algae

A new mobile-responsive web page from the New York state Department of Environmental Conservation lets the public more easily report harmful algal blooms. Features include an updated map and reporting system.

Lake Erie Algae
(TNS) — The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has launched a new, mobile-friendly webpage designed to help the public report harmful algal blooms (HABs).

"DEC's updated map and reporting system allows for more effective monitoring of potential threats to the health or recreational use of waterbodies, and we encourage New Yorkers to be on the lookout for HABs and report any sightings," DEC Interim Commissioner Mahar said in a statement announcing the new program.

People on or around area lakes and other waterways can visit the DEC's Harmful Algal Blooms website for daily updated information on the department's monitoring of HABs and how to avoid helping them spread throughout the state.

"Exposure to harmful algae blooms can cause health effects in people and animals, including pets, when water with blooms is touched, swallowed, or when airborne droplets are inhaled. New York State is aggressively proactive in monitoring and combatting these blooms to protect public health, and this new map and reporting system will allow New Yorkers to better 'Know it, Avoid it, and Report it,'" State Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald added in the statement.

The website provides access to a "Suspicious Algal Bloom Report Form," which accesses a devices location to pinpoint the area in real time. Reporters are asked to fill in a few fields of information to help identify the potential HAB, as well as visual examples of typical and atypical HABS. The DEC also has a map of current (under two weeks old) reports of HABs statewide.

The Lake George Association has a similar page set up for water quality issues generally. Their site refers people to report HABs on the DEC site, but has other concerns they are hoping people report.

For instance, they look for reports of tree cutting, salt piles and heavy storm water runoff on the lake shoreline or its tributaries.

The LGA's page was started in 2021 just months after the first reported HAB in Lake George's recorded history.

The Darrin Freshwater Institute, a research institute on Lake George, also supplies real-time water quality and weather data at its website.

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