The hazardous algal blooms (HABs) are back… and are they toxic.
State agencies (Environmental Conservation and Health) warn people to avoid all algae-like formations in lakes and ponds and caution that even cyanobacteria blooms without toxins can be harmful.
A handful of the dreaded HABs cropped up on lakes in late-October and early-November, a mark of warm, calm and sunny fall weather. Combined with a churn of nutrients within lakes, the sunny weather spurs rapid cyanobacteria growth, forming blooms on the water surface.
Blooms were documented on Mirror Lake, Lake George, Lake Colby and others in recent weeks. Lower Saranac Lake and Moose Pond both experienced their first documented blooms this year.
The harmful algal blooms can produce toxins but don’t always do. State agencies work with public water suppliers and public beaches to respond to nearby HABs, but many HABs detected around the state are not ever tested for producing toxins.
In the past decade, the state has recorded around 270 HABs containing toxins. But according to the state data, only two HABs with toxins have been identified in the Adirondack Park: a 2015 HAB on Lake Placid and a 2019 HAB on Mountain Lake in the southern Adirondacks.
I hope you had a chance to make it to the polls this week. Voters gave the greenlight to the $4.2 billion environmental bond, opening the door to huge sum of money to be used on climate change mitigation, flood control, wastewater and drinking water infrastructure improvements, land acquisition and more.
At the Explorer, we will be keeping up with how spending the bond act money goes over the coming, well probably 30 years. In a major overview of how the state 1996 bond act played out, Gwen Craig reported that some of that money still remains in the state’s coffers. The report also highlighted the lackluster paper trail of the last bond act. Let’s hope the state does better this time around.
Photo at top: A recent cyanobacteria bloom can be seen on the southern shore of Mirror Lake. Photo provided by Bill Billerman, the Mirror Lake Watershed Association.
Editor’s note: This first appeared in Zach’s weekly “Water Line” newsletter. Click here to sign up.