Department of Environmental Conservation Deputy Commissioner to present keynote at 5th Annual Finger Lakes Harmful Algal Blooms Symposium

The fifth annual Finger Lakes Harmful Algal Blooms Symposium is Thursday, Aug. 9, at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva.

Keynote remarks will be presented by James Tierney, deputy commissioner for Water Resources, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC). Tierney oversees the state’s water quality standards and supply assessments and manages all clean water programs, including plans addressing sewage treatment and polluted runoff.

Harmful Algal Blooms, or HABs, are a certain species of algae that negatively impact the quality of water and produce toxins harmful to people and animals. HABs usually occur in nutrient-rich waters, particularly during hot, calm weather.

HABs have been found in most counties in New York, including in many of the Finger Lakes. This prompted Gov. Andrew Cuomo to launch a $65 million plan in 2017 to address issues caused by HABs.

In addition to Tierney’s keynote, this year’s symposium will feature the following presenters and topics:

Greg Boyer, Ph.D., SUNY-Environmental Science, and Forestry – Harmful Algal Blooms in the Finger Lakes

Nelson Hairston, Jr., Ph.D., Cornell University – Honeoye HABs: Internal Waves, Internal Loading, and Infernal Cyanobacteria

Rich Abbott, Public Health Sanitarian, City of Syracuse – 2017 HAB Event on Skaneateles Lake: Looking Back and Going Forward

Megan Webster – District manager for the Ontario Soil and Water Conservation District – Best Management Practices Used in Addressing HABs

John Halfman, Ph.D., Geoscience Department, Finger Lakes Institute at Hobart and William Smith Colleges – Owasco Lake HABs: Nearshore Blooms and Proposed Mitigation Processes

Richard Zacaroli, Business Development Manager, Specialty Materials, Corning Incorporated – Hyperspectral Imaging Application in Environmental Monitoring

Hosted by the NYSDEC, Finger Lakes Institute at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, the U.S. Green Building Council New York Upstate, and Corning Incorporated, the symposium is 11:45 a.m.- 6 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 9, at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, 300 Pulteney St., Geneva, N.Y. (Vandervort Room, second floor of the Scandling Center).

The cost is $20 for individuals and $10 for students before Aug. 2, or $35 for individuals and $25 for students after Aug. 2. Registration includes a buffet-style lunch, keynote speaker and presentations, panel discussion, networking reception, and takeaways.

For more information or to register, visit and scroll to “Events.”

For more information on HABs, visit