Canandaigua Lake Watershed

Canandaigua Lake Watershed Council Meeting

July 20, 2016 at 4:30 pm in the Hurley Building

The 2016 Proposed Watershed Council Budget can be reviewed here.

 

homemap

August 26, 2016 Watershed Council update:

Dr. Gilman completed our monthly lake sampling today and the clarity was holding at 4 meters at both mid lake stations. Dr. Gilman also reported that there was no surface streaks or concentrations of algae observed on the lake. Nutrient samples were collected and will be sent to our certified lab for analysis. Dr. Gilman also collected samples from six sites throughout the lake and completed laboratory analysis for total chlorophyll-a, which is a measurement of all types of algae in the water. These readings ranged from 2.47ug/L to 7.44ug/L of total algae. The DEC bloom criteria is 25ug/L of just blue green algae, so these results further confirm that we are well below levels that are concerning. With the warm sunny weather, conditions can change quickly on the lake and can vary throughout the lake. Please continue to use the visual indicators to look for blooms using our guide or visit the NYS DEC website.  Please contact us if you see anything suspicious on the lake or if you have any questions or observations. The lake surface is 10,500 acres and has 36 miles of shoreline so the more eyes the better!

 

Current Water Quality Conditions – August 25, 2016

We partnered with Finger Lakes Institute (FLI) and Watershed Association Board member Ted Carmen, (who provided the boat), to monitor the lake at multiple locations yesterday using both FLCC’s YSI blue green algae probe and using the FLI’s blue green algae fluoroprobe. We observed very low concentrations of blue green algae in the lake. Our highest concentrations were approximately 2.4 ug/L of blue green algae, while the DEC criteria for a bloom is 25 ug/L. We also saw an increase in water clarity to 4.1 meters from previous readings that were around 3.2 meters last Friday. We are not seeing any surface streaking of algae and have not seen any concentrations in the near shore areas.

This is good news. However, as we learned last year, conditions can change quickly on the lake and can vary throughout the lake. Please continue to use the visual indicators to look for blooms using our guide or visit the NYS DEC website. We will update our website if we get any new information on changes to the quality of the lake. Dr. Gilman will be out on the lake Friday doing our normal monthly lake sampling and we will post our available results on the website Friday evening or Saturday morning. Please contact us if you see anything suspicious on the lake or if you have any questions or observations. The lake surface is 10,500 acres and has 36 miles of shoreline so the more eyes the better!

Current Water Quality Conditions – August 22, 2016

We received the results from the three surface water grab samples that were collected on Friday. The good news is that the surface water sample results are not showing any real concentration of blue green algae (specifically microcystis) and is clear of toxins. At the same time, our overall water clarity is still well below average (3 meter range) in the open water areas and microscopic analysis by Dr. Bruce Gilman identified microcystis as the dominant algae. Based on this, we think there may have been a higher concentration of microcystis below the surface of the lake, but still substantially below bloom levels. The rain event on Sunday and the northwest winds of Monday have mixed the algae throughout the water column reducing the potential for high concentrations. We still have not seen any surface streaking or concentrations in the near shore areas like we saw last year.

We will continue to partner with Dr. Bruce Gilman and others to monitor the lake and encourage residents to contact us if they see any suspicious blooms. It is important to remember that microcystis has been in the lake for a very long time. The concern is when you get high concentrations of microcystis. The test results and visual observations are telling us we do not have high concentrations of microcystis that would be cause for concern, but lake conditions can change pretty quickly and there can be substantial variability in concentrations across the lake. Please use the visual indicators to look for blooms using our guide or visit the NYS DEC website and feel free to contact us with any questions or observations. We will update these websites if we get any new information on changes to the quality of the lake.

Current Water Quality Conditions – August 19, 2016

We are starting to see a decrease in water clarity resulting from an increase in algae in the lake. Secchi disk readings have decreased from 4.5 meters to 3.2 meters in the last week. The dominant algae is microcystis, which is the blue green algae that bloomed last year. However, we are not seeing surface concentrations like we had last year and have not reached bloom levels. Water samples have been sent in for analysis, and we will post the results as soon as we receive them.

Based on our observations today, the near shore areas had good water clarity and the algae was observed in the open water areas. Conditions can change quickly on the lake, as the algae can move up and down in the water column and can be pushed to different areas of the lake by the wind. Use caution and avoid any suspicious blooms if you see one.

See our quick blue green algae guide or visit the NYS DEC website and NYS DOH website for more information on blue green algae.  If you have any questions or see a suspicious bloom, please email us at kevin.olvany@canandaiguanewyork.gov and kmcgarry@canandaiguanewyork.gov .

Draft Model On-site Wastewater Treatment Law

Download the model law HERE.

The Comprehensive Update of the Canandaigua Lake Watershed Management Plan in 2014 identified a substantial gap in our on-site wastewater treatment system laws. There were specific recommendations in the plan to improve regulatory oversight to on-site wastewater treatment systems. In addition, last September’s blue green algae bloom highlighted the need for continued water quality management in the Canandaigua Lake Watershed. The October expert panel discussion provided an overview of the numerous factors contributing to the bloom and all agreed that managing the various sources of nutrients is the best way to manage blue green algae growth.

The Canandaigua Lake Watershed Council and its partners are taking a multi-faceted approach to reduce nutrient inputs to the lake. As part of this approach, the Canandaigua Lake Watershed Council has been working with the Joint Municipal Land Use Workgroup to create model laws for watershed municipalities. The Workgroup includes planning board members, code enforcement officials, community members, and more. The Workgroup identified 6 topics to review, including steep slopes, lot coverage, ridgeline protection, site plan review, on-site wastewater treatment systems, and watercourse protection. We have made substantial progress on these 6 topics, with some communities adopting lot coverage and site plan review changes.

The Workgroup recently completed a draft model law for on-site wastewater treatment systems. This law is modeled after our own extensive experience, along with existing laws from Owasco Lake, Keuka Lake, Cayuga Lake, and Sodus Bay. The Watershed Council endorsed the concept of the model law at their February meeting. We have received feedback from residents and have made some updates to the law. We also held a public information session on July 11th at the Vine Valley Community House. We had a great turnout with 75 community members in attendance and received excellent feedback there. We plan to hold another public information meeting in August on the west side of the lake. The law is in the hands of each municipality to review. The goal is to have a fairly uniform law passed throughout the watershed to make it easier for contractors and engineers. However, each municipality will make its own home rule decision on whether to adopt the law.

If there are any questions on the model law, feel free to contact the Watershed Program Manager, Kevin Olvany, at kevin.olvany@canandaiguanewyork.gov or (585) 396-3630. You can also contact your municipality for more information.

Current Water Quality Conditions – July 8, 2016

Water clarity remains excellent with secchi disk readings in the 7 to 8 meter range.  There is currently no visible evidence of blue green algae throughout the lake and shoreline areas. Conditions can change quickly, so please use caution and avoid blooms if they occur. If you have any questions or see any suspected blooms, please email us at klo@canandaiguanewyork.gov.

Community Discussion: 2015 Blue Green Algae Event

On October 20, 2015, the Canandaigua Lake Watershed Association and the Canandaigua Lake Watershed Council co-hosted a community discussion on the September blue green algae event.  A panel of experts each presented a powerpoint, followed by a question and answer session. The experts discussed the science behind blue green algae and the sequence of events on Canandaigua Lake. The presentations are below. You can also find a video of the event here.

Dr. Greg Boyer – Director of the Great Lakes Research Consortium, and Professor at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry
Dr. Greg Boyer’s Presentation

Scott Kishbaugh, P.E. – Chief, Lake Monitoring and Assessment Section, NYS Department of Conservation Division of Water
Scott Kishbaugh’s Presentation

Kevin Olvany – Watershed Program Manager, Canandaigua Lake Watershed Council
Kevin Olvany’s Presentation

September 25, 2015 Watershed Council Program Manager update:

Three samples were collected yesterday early afternoon and transported to SUNY-ESF in Syracuse to better understand current Blue Green algae and microcystin (toxin) levels in the lake.  Based on the gentle north east wind patterns two samples were collected along the West side- one at Onanda (off the fishing pier), and the second site was just south of Menteth Point where algae was concentrating in an isolated patch along the shore. The third site was in the middle of the lake across from the Yacht Club where some streaking of algae was occurring and visible dots of algae could be seen in the water.

The Onanda Fishing Pier and Yacht Club samples best represent the general water conditions in the lake where as the site just south of Menteth Point represents the small patches of higher concentrations of algae that we see collecting in shoreline areas and are the areas we tell people to definitely avoid.

The table below shows the results of the three samples.  The Onanda Fishing Pier and Mid Lake Yacht Club samples are showing some Blue Green Algae and Microcystin levels, but both sites are below the NYS Dept. of Health recreational contact limit of 10ug/L for microcystins.  Conditions can change on a 10,553 acre lake so continue to use caution through the weekend.

The third site (see picture) just south of Menteth Point represents the small patches that need to be avoided.  These areas tend to accumulate at the shoreline based on wind patterns.  The table below provides the sample results.  Pictures are also provided at the bottom of this update for each of the locations to help with understanding what these levels look like.  Overall, caution still needs to be used before entering the water and use your visual indicators to determine if algae blooms are present.

Location Total chlorophyll Blue green algae chlorophyll Microcystins Concentration
Onanda Fishing Pier 2.1 ug/L total 0.6 ug/L 0.3 ug/L
Mid-lake Yacht Club 7.1 ug/L total 3.7 ug/L 1.75 ug/L
Small isolated area with concentrated bloom just south of Menteth Point 94 ug/L 83 ug/L – Bloom 17.6 ug/L

 

More information on the results:

Blue Green Algae abundance is based on blue-algal specific chlorophyll where low represents 0-3, medium 3-10, high 10-30, and bloom >30 ug/l blue-green algal chlorophyll.

World Health Organization Guidelines for interpretation of the results based on the presence or absence of known cyanobacteria toxins. In cases where no toxin was detected, the risk category is estimated from the detection limit. Blue-green algae may pose a risk from compounds other than the measured toxins and therefore all blooms should be avoided.

US-EPA has recently released its guidelines for drinking water. Those guidelines are 1.6 ug/L (adults) and 0.3 ug/L (infants) for 10 days.

0.0-0.3 μg/L Little to no risk from blue-green algal toxins: Minimal Toxicity.
0.3-1.0 μg/L Toxin detected but below the WHO drinking water guidelines: Low Toxicity
1.0 – 10 μg/L Toxin levels are above the WHO drinking water guidelines but generally below the limits for recreational contact: Moderate Toxicity
10-20 μg/L Toxin levels are significant and approach the WHO limit for recreational contact: moderate-high Toxicity
>20 μg/L Toxin levels exceed the WHO guidelines for recreational contact: High Toxicity. Users should avoid contact with the blooms.

 

The Onanda Fishing Pier

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Mid Lake Yacht Club

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South of Menteth Point – Concentrated Bloom – sample was collected in the densest part of the bloom

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If anyone has questions or observations over the weekend, please call my cell phone (747-8719) or email me at Kevin.Olvany@canandaiguanewyork.gov.

 

September 22, 2015 Watershed Council Program Manager update:

The City Pier Sample had a toxicity of 3.5ug/L and the City Dock had a toxicity of 1.2ug/L.  Both of the samples are below the Health Department’s limit of 10ug/L for recreational contact.

The warm, sunny and very calm wind conditions of this afternoon has increased the concentration of surface algae in the northern third of the lake.   We are expected to have a north wind tomorrow of 5-10mph that will hopefully mix the algae and reduce surface algae concentrations.  Continue to use caution before entering the water and use the visual indicators to determine if a bloom might be present.  Please call my office phone (585) 396-3630 or cell phone (585) 747-8719 if you have any observations or questions.

September 21, 2015 Watershed Council Program Manager update:

The weather conditions over the weekend and today have not been favorable to continued algal growth.  Most shoreline areas have been free of algal blooms with fairly clear water along the near shore areas.  We collected two water quality samples this morning and transported them to Syracuse ESF for Blue Green Algae and Microcystin analysis.  The samples were collected along the City Pier where there was visible evidence of algae building up along the Pier and off the City Dock (near Canandaigua Lady) to represent more general water quality conditions.  The City Pier had a concentration of 6.3ug/L of Blue Green algae and the City Dock had a concentration of 1.7ug/L.  Both of these samples are well below the NYS-DEC bloom criteria of 25ug/L of Blue Green Algae.  We are awaiting the Microcystin (toxin) results, which should be available sometime tomorrow morning (Tuesday- 9/22).

I toured the northern third of the lake this afternoon by boat and there was no visible algae concentrations on the water surface, except in the northwest section of the lake near the City Pier.   Most of the lake visually looked like the sample that was collected near the City Dock this morning.  This is also encouraging news compared to what we were seeing last week!   However, water clarity measurements in the middle of the lake using the secchi disk were slightly less than they were last week.  This is telling us that there is still an elevated population of algae in the water column.  We are working with FLCC to analyze algae species composition to see if the types of algae/zooplankton might be changing.

The forecast calls for increasing air temperature and sunny conditions throughout the week.  This will potentially repeat the scenario that happened last week with increased algae at the surface.  Therefore, lake users need to use caution before entering the water and continue to use the visual indicators to determine if a bloom might be present.  Please call my office phone (585) 396-3630 or cell phone (585) 747-8719 if you have any observations or questions.

We are planning a more formal presentation on this unprecedented increase in algae on the lake and will keep the public informed on the date/time and location of the presentation.

 

September 16, 2015 – Watershed Council Program Manager Update:

Continued 80 + degree F temperatures along with sunny calm conditions have provided the right conditions for continued algae growth on the lake. Conditions are worsening on the lake and there are full bloom conditions in multiple areas including the north end of the lake along Kershaw.  We are also getting reports that the southern portion of the lake is also seeing an increase in algae. Therefore the algae bloom advisory is still active. Use extra caution before entering the lake.

As many of you have noticed, we are also seeing substantial white foam on the lake over the last 10 days. The foaming of surface waters on lakes is not a new phenomenon. It is a natural process that has been going on for a long time in many different parts of the world.  Foam is created when the surface tension of water (attraction of surface molecules to each other) is reduced and the air is mixed in, forming bubbles.  When organisms, such as algae, plants, fish and/or zebra mussels die and decompose they release cellular products (surfactant) into the water, which reduces the surface tension.  When the wind blows, the waves on the lake agitate this surface agent, thus transforming it into sudsy white foam.   Currents and boats also mix air with the organic compounds present in the lake to produce foam.  The foam will frequently form parallel streaks in the open water, caused by wind-induced surface currents.  It will also collect in large quantities on windward shores, coves, or in eddies.   This is especially true on the east shore of Canandaigua Lake.

Over the past years Skaneateles Lake, Cayuga Lake, Keuka Lake and Oneida Lake have also experienced foam.  We have also had substantial foam on the lake in September of 2001 and then again in 2006.  We have periodically seen foam in recent years as well.  In 2002, the Watershed Council worked with Dr. Greg Boyer, a leading researcher from the State College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, to collect and analyze foam samples from Canandaigua Lake.  The purpose of the research (included Dr. Bruce Gilman of FLCC, and Webster Persall of DEC) was to try to scientifically link the production of foam to its source.  Samples were analyzed for organic matter, lipids, protein, carbon, carbohydrates, fatty acids and nitrogen.  The chemical testing on the foam however could not definitively pinpoint the source of the foam, but did show a mixture of plant and animal organic matter.  Results did rule out any man-made sources.  We are going to reach out to Dr. Boyer to see if he can analyze this year’s foam.

There are two main theories we are investigating.  We are going to try to determine if there has been a die off of Quagga Mussels that cumulatively excreted large amounts of surfactants (organic matter) into the water creating the foam.  The second theory is that ecosystem changes wrought by Quagga Mussels, such as an increase in blue-green algae, may also be a contributing source.  In 2001/2002, we documented a temporary Zebra Mussel die-off through age-classification of Zebra Mussels in the Lake.  Analysis performed by Finger Lakes Community College showed that the overwhelming population of living Zebra Mussels collected in eight different lake locations was less than six months old.  We are going to try to do the same analysis for Quagga Mussels which have largely replaced Zebra Mussels in the lake.  Those who live on the shoreline can help us by investigating your shoreline for empty Mussel shells.  Please let us know what you find!

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September 15, 2015 – Watershed Council Program Manager Update:

Today’s 80 + degree F temperatures along with sunny calm conditions have provided the right conditions for increased algae levels on the lake.  Visual inspections along the shoreline and out in the middle of the lake from the boat this afternoon has documented widespread streaking of algae with isolated higher concentrations both out in the middle of the lake and along the shoreline.  Therefore the algae bloom advisory is still active.  Multiple secchi disk measurements were completed to document lake clarity.  Overall clarity has increased from an average of 3-3.5 meters last week to 4-4.5 meters today.  This is encouraging information, however the algae seem to be concentrating in the top few feet of the water column, which is where we have the most contact with the water.  Please continue to use caution and the visual indicators before entering the water.  The weather this week will probably create the right conditions for continued algal growth.

As many of you have noticed, we are also seeing substantial white foam on the lake over the last 10 days. The foaming of surface waters on lakes is not a new phenomenon. It is a natural process that has been going on for a long time in many different parts of the world.  Foam is created when the surface tension of water (attraction of surface molecules to each other) is reduced and the air is mixed in, forming bubbles.  When organisms, such as algae, plants, fish and/or zebra mussels die and decompose they release cellular products (surfactant) into the water, which reduces the surface tension.  When the wind blows, the waves on the lake agitate this surface agent, thus transforming it into sudsy white foam.   Currents and boats also mix air with the organic compounds present in the lake to produce foam.  The foam will frequently form parallel streaks in the open water, caused by wind-induced surface currents.  It will also collect in large quantities on windward shores, coves, or in eddies.   This is especially true on the east shore of Canandaigua Lake.

Over the past years Skaneateles Lake, Cayuga Lake, Keuka Lake and Oneida Lake have also experienced foam.  We have also had substantial foam on the lake in September of 2001 and then again in 2006.  We have periodically seen foam in recent years as well.  In 2002, the Watershed Council worked with Dr. Greg Boyer, a leading researcher from the State College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, to collect and analyze foam samples from Canandaigua Lake.  The purpose of the research (included Dr. Bruce Gilman of FLCC, and Webster Persall of DEC) was to try to scientifically link the production of foam to its source.  Samples were analyzed for organic matter, lipids, protein, carbon, carbohydrates, fatty acids and nitrogen.  The chemical testing on the foam however could not definitively pinpoint the source of the foam, but did show a mixture of plant and animal organic matter.  Results did rule out any man-made sources.  We are going to reach out to Dr. Boyer to see if he can analyze this year’s foam.

There are two main theories we are investigating.  We are going to try to determine if there has been a die off of Quagga Mussels that cumulatively excreted large amounts of surfactants (organic matter) into the water creating the foam.  The second theory is that ecosystem changes wrought by Quagga Mussels, such as an increase in blue-green algae, may also be a contributing source.  In 2001/2002, we documented a temporary Zebra Mussel die-off through age-classification of Zebra Mussels in the Lake.  Analysis performed by Finger Lakes Community College showed that the overwhelming population of living Zebra Mussels collected in eight different lake locations was less than six months old.  We are going to try to do the same analysis for Quagga Mussels which have largely replaced Zebra Mussels in the lake.  Those who live on the shoreline can help us by investigating your shoreline for empty Mussel shells.  Please let us know what you find!

We hope to have Dr. Greg Boyer out for a presentation sometime this fall to discuss the substantial increase in Blue Green algae on Canandaigua Lake and what his research is documenting across New York State.  We will keep you posted.

September 11, 2015 Watershed Council Program Manager update:

We received the latest results from SUNY-ESF Syracuse for our latest round of blue green algae and Microcystin sampling.  This set of samples was focused on the race course for the upcoming triathlon.  Samples were collected yesterday morning by me and the triathlon race coordinator dropped them off at the Syracuse lab.  Conditions along the race course looked similar to what we were seeing on the lake yesterday morning so they are a good indicator of what we are generally seeing on the lake.  There was visible algae in the water column, but no streaking or full bloom conditions.   Three samples were collected along different sections of the race course, near shore (100 yards out), middle of the course (1000 feet out) and then about 1/2 mile from shore.  The near shore sample had a toxin level of 1.40ug/L, the middle race course had 1.03ug/L, and the end of swim course had 1.14ug/L.  These are encouraging numbers as they are well below the NYS- Dept. of Health (10ug/L) and World Health Organization (20ug/L) recreational contact limits.

We have also done extensive lake (by boat) and shoreline (by car) visual monitoring over the last few days.  Thursday and Friday are showing fairly clear shoreline conditions except for some isolated areas where there are pockets of algae streaks to one full bloom condition in a small area on the northeast side of the lake.  Lake clarity in the middle of the lake is not changing much with readings continuing to show about 3 meters with a couple spots just below 3 meters and some spots getting to 3.7 meters.  This is telling us that there is still a significant population of blue green algae in the water.

Please continue to follow the various advisories that have been put on the lake. Also, feel free to call my cell phone over the weekend 747-8719 if you have any questions or observations.

From the NYS Health Department website: https://www.health.ny.gov/environmental/water/drinking/bluegreenalgae.htm

Blue-green algae, technically known as cyanobacteria, are microscopic organisms that are naturally present in lakes and streams. They usually are present in low numbers. Blue-green algae can become very abundant in warm, shallow, undisturbed surface water that receives a lot of sunlight. When this occurs, they can form blooms that discolor the water or produce floating rafts or scums on the surface of the water.

What are the potential health effects from drinking or coming in contact with water containing blue-green algae?

Some blue-green algae produce toxins that could pose a health risk to people and animals when they are exposed to them in large enough quantities. Health effects could occur when surface scums or water containing high levels of blue-green algal toxins are swallowed, through contact with the skin or when airborne droplets containing toxins are inhaled while swimming, bathing or showering.

Consuming water containing high levels of blue-green algal toxins has been associated with effects on the liver and on the nervous system in laboratory animals, pets, livestock and people. Livestock and pet deaths have occurred when animals consumed very large amounts of accumulated algal scum from along shorelines.

Direct contact or breathing airborne droplets containing high levels of blue-green algal toxins during swimming or showering can cause irritation of the skin, eyes, nose and throat and inflammation in the respiratory tract.

Recreational contact, such as swimming, and household contact, such as bathing or showering, with water not visibly affected by a blue green algae bloom is not expected to cause health effects. However, some individuals could be especially sensitive to even low levels of algal toxins and might experience mild symptoms such as skin, eye or throat irritation or allergic reactions.

There is less information available about the potential health effects of long-term exposure to low levels of blue-green algal toxins. Some limited evidence from human studies suggests that long-term consumption of untreated surface waters containing high levels of blue green algal toxins could be associated with an increased risk of liver cancer. However, people in these studies also were exposed to other factors associated with liver cancer. As a result, it is unknown whether algal toxin exposure contributed to this risk.

Long-term, continuous exposure to algal toxins in the Northeast is unlikely, because blue-green algal blooms are likely to occur only during the hottest part of the summer. New York State public water supplies that use surface water sources also have operational controls to minimize the introduction of blue-green algae in drinking water.

How do I know if I am being exposed to blue green algae?

People should suspect that blue-green algae could be present in water that is visibly discolored or that has surface scums. Colors can include shades of green, blue-green, yellow, brown or red. Water affected by blue-green algal blooms often is so strongly colored that it can develop a paint-like appearance.

People should suspect that blue-green algae could be present in water that is visibly discolored or that has surface scums. Colors can include shades of green, blue-green, yellow, brown or red. Water affected by blue-green algal blooms often is so strongly colored that it can develop a paint-like appearance.

Sept 9, 2015: Update on the Blue Green Algae Advisory

We received the results from the Syracuse Lab that the microcystin-LR is present in the lake.  Microcystin-LR is a toxin that can be produced by blue green algae. These results are associated with a water sample that was collected on September 1st and had the highest Blue Green Algae level sampled on the lake (39ug/L). The microcystin-LR levels were 16.7 ug/l, just below the World Health Organization elevated risk threshold of 20 ug/l for swimming. Results that are in the 10-20 μg/L microcystin-LR toxin levels are significant and approach the WHO limit for recreational contact.  This sample was collected in an obvious bloom area.  Based on these results and continuing increased algae levels in the lake; extra caution should be used before entering the lake.

Conditions change quickly on the lake. Before entering the lake, continue to use visual cues to determine if it is safe.  Look for visibly discolored water or that has surface scums. Colors can include shades of green, blue-green, yellow, brown or red. Water affected by blue-green algal blooms often is so strongly colored that it can develop a paint-like appearance. For more guidance on visual cues, please visit the NYS DEC and DOH blue green websites.  Blue-green algae may pose a risk from compounds other than the measured toxins and therefore all blooms should be avoided.

Conditions along the western side of the lake along with reports from the east side of the lake were documenting very high pockets of algae.  The picture shows conditions just north of Butler Beach.

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From the NYS Health Department website: https://www.health.ny.gov/environmental/water/drinking/bluegreenalgae.htm

Blue-green algae, technically known as cyanobacteria, are microscopic organisms that are naturally present in lakes and streams. They usually are present in low numbers. Blue-green algae can become very abundant in warm, shallow, undisturbed surface water that receives a lot of sunlight. When this occurs, they can form blooms that discolor the water or produce floating rafts or scums on the surface of the water.

What are the potential health effects from drinking or coming in contact with water containing blue-green algae?

Some blue-green algae produce toxins that could pose a health risk to people and animals when they are exposed to them in large enough quantities. Health effects could occur when surface scums or water containing high levels of blue-green algal toxins are swallowed, through contact with the skin or when airborne droplets containing toxins are inhaled while swimming, bathing or showering.

Consuming water containing high levels of blue-green algal toxins has been associated with effects on the liver and on the nervous system in laboratory animals, pets, livestock and people. Livestock and pet deaths have occurred when animals consumed very large amounts of accumulated algal scum from along shorelines.

Direct contact or breathing airborne droplets containing high levels of blue-green algal toxins during swimming or showering can cause irritation of the skin, eyes, nose and throat and inflammation in the respiratory tract.

Recreational contact, such as swimming, and household contact, such as bathing or showering, with water not visibly affected by a bluegreen algae bloom is not expected to cause health effects. However, some individuals could be especially sensitive to even low levels of algal toxins and might experience mild symptoms such as skin, eye or throat irritation or allergic reactions.

There is less information available about the potential health effects of long-term exposure to low levels of blue-green algal toxins. Some limited evidence from human studies suggests that long-term consumption of untreated surface waters containing high levels of bluegreen algal toxins could be associated with an increased risk of liver cancer. However, people in these studies also were exposed to other factors associated with liver cancer. As a result, it is unknown whether algal toxin exposure contributed to this risk.

Long-term, continuous exposure to algal toxins in the Northeast is unlikely, because blue-green algal blooms are likely to occur only during the hottest part of the summer. New York State public water supplies that use surface water sources also have operational controls to minimize the introduction of blue-green algae in drinking water.

How do I know if I am being exposed to bluegreen algae?

People should suspect that blue-green algae could be present in water that is visibly discolored or that has surface scums. Colors can include shades of green, blue-green, yellow, brown or red. Water affected by blue-green algal blooms often is so strongly colored that it can develop a paint-like appearance.

People should suspect that blue-green algae could be present in water that is visibly discolored or that has surface scums. Colors can include shades of green, blue-green, yellow, brown or red. Water affected by blue-green algal blooms often is so strongly colored that it can develop a paint-like appearance.

Sept 5, 2015: Blue Green Algae Advisory Update

Today, the Department of Health conducted a test for microcystin, a type of toxin that may be produced by blue green algae, at Deep Run Beach.  The test came back negative for the presence of microcystin and the beach is now reopened. Although this test is encouraging, the results do not represent conditions across the entire lake, so the lake continues to have a blue green algae advisory and precautions should be taken before entering the lake in any location.

As evidence, the Department of Health also conducted a visual inspection of the beach at Onanda Park today.  The beach contained visible levels of blue green algae.  Based on Department of Health guidelines,  Onanda Park Beach will remain closed.

We are still waiting on additional toxin test results for other parts of the lake from the lab in Syracuse.  These results will be posted on the website as soon as they become available.

Even though some of the beaches are opened today, Canandaigua Lake still has a blue green algae bloom advisory. Water clarity readings from this morning suggest that algae levels are still significantly higher than average on the lake.  Conditions can change quickly on the lake, so continue to use caution before entering the lake in all areas.  Please continue to follow the recommendations for blue green algae blooms from the Department of Environmental Conservation and Department of Health.

Sept 4, 2015 – Update: Blue Green Algae Bloom Advisory Still Active on Canandaigua Lake

Water samples that were collected mid-week were sent to a laboratory in Syracuse to determine whether or not the blue green algae was producing compounds that can be harmful to humans and animals. We received word from the DEC that the lab in Syracuse that is running the toxicity samples has been swamped with Blue Green Algae samples from across the state.  They are also having some temporary technical issues that they hope to get resolved.  Our website will be updated with the results as soon as they become available.

We continue to conduct visual inspections and collect water samples. Conditions along the shoreline in the morning hours were good in many spots, but by mid-afternoon Butler Road beach and Onanda Beach closed due to algae concentrations in the beach area.  Kershaw beach was able to reopen due to continued absence of blooms in the beach area.   We collected 10 samples this afternoon from various areas around the lake to get a sense of overall algae levels as represented by total chlorophyll-a levels.  All samples were collected as a grab sample going from the surface down about 4 inches.  Samples were collected by boat and were both mid lake and near shore samples.  Dr. Bruce Gilman (FLCC) completed the analysis and the results document that the algae levels are 2 to 3 times higher than what they normally are.  Levels ranged from 4.33ug/L to 10.72ug/L of chlorophyll-a.  It is important to point out that two samples were collected Thursday that had results of 21.19 and 31.23 ug/L of chlorophyll-a.  These samples were collected very close to shore in areas with obvious and substantial bloom conditions.  Dr. Bruce Gilman identified that microcystis was the overwhelmingly dominant algae in the lake.  Secchi disk measurements  (measures clarity) were consistently in the 3.0- 3.5 meter range at these sites and other sites where measurements were collected.  Typically readings on the lake average about 6-7 meters this time of year.

The County Health Department’s and our advisory is still active.  The concentrations of algae change substantially throughout the day for a variety of reasons.  People need to use caution before entering the water and avoid water that looks green, has streaks of algae on the surface, looks like a blue/green or yellow film is on the surface and finally if there is a surface scum layer.  People need to also review the Department of Health and Department of Environmental Conservation websites on Blue Green algae as well so they better understand the issues.  The Watershed Program Manager Kevin Olvany will continue to have his cell phone (747-8719) and people that have questions or observations can call him or email him over the weekend.

Sept 2, 2015 – Blue Green Algae Bloom Advisory on Canandaigua Lake

Click HERE for additional information on the blue green algae bloom advisory.

Watershed Council Mission

The goal of the Canandaigua Lake Watershed Council is to maintain and enhance the high water quality of the Canandaigua Lake watershed through research, education, restoration and, if necessary, regulation. The Watershed Council strives to cooperate and partner with county, state and federal agencies, as well as citizens groups and local residents, to effectively and efficiently implement projects throughout the watershed that will protect and improve water quality.

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