Seneca Lake experiences widespread HAB event

Bill Roege, HABs Director, Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association

SENECA LAKE — On Oct. 6, Seneca Lake experienced one of the most widespread harmful algal bloom (HAB) events since the Pure Waters HAB program began in 2014.

Harmful algal blooms the week of Oct. 6.

After two days of blooms along the north shore (Geneva and State Park waterfront), volunteers reported more blooms at the same locations Wednesday morning. By mid-day, volunteers along the Northwest shore, from Long Point to Geneva, reported and documented extensive blooms along the shoreline and well out into the lake. In addition, the Hobart and William Smith research vessel William Scandling, also reported blooms in the middle of the lake.

By early afternoon, reports were also coming in from northeast and southwest shoreline volunteers. There was also a report from the southeast late in the day.

This bloom was very intense; some longtime residents remarked that they had never seen anything like it. The blooms lingered all day and into the evening, but by the morning, the winds had picked up and the blooms have broken up.

Seneca Lake was not alone. Other lakes in the area, including Canandaigua, Cayuga, and Keuka, also experienced extensive bloom events. The very calm winds likely contributed, but given the day was cloudy and water is getting very cool, there is some mystery what triggered an event that was so widespread and intense this late in the season.

HAB volunteers captured extensive documentation and our dock-mounted cameras will provide additional information. Pure Waters also received many public reports and photos via the HABs email and hotline. We are pleased that everyone is out there looking and helping ensure information is getting out.

Anyone can access the volunteer reports on the Pure Waters HAB webpage map. Photos can be viewed by selecting the appropriate dot on the map.

The Pure Waters official HAB shoreline monitoring season runs through this weekend. Some volunteers will continue to monitor through October.