NY taking action to protect waters from harmful algae

Local

New York State is taking action to reduce or prevent a dangerous type of algae from appearing on bodies of water.

Lake George is one of 12 bodies of water in the state that’s part of a program to combat harmful algal blooms. Krista Mein and Genny Pauley like to take their dogs to the lake for a dip, but they want to ensure the water is safe.

“You just never know,” Pauley said. “They close the beaches a lot, you know, and say that there’s stuff in there that you have to be careful of.”

Sean Mahar of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation said they test for bacteria on a regular basis, including harmful algal blooms, a type of algae that produces a toxin that can be dangerous to people and animals. They normally look like spilled green paint or pea soup on the surface of water.

“Usually, they occur more prevalently in the summer during hot and calm weather,” he said.

In recent years, the blooms haven’t popped up on Lake George and the state is taking steps to keep it that way by donating a portion of $60 million to research and upgrading water systems.

“Take that experience in what we’ve done in that lake and apply it to other lakes as we look to adaptively manage this,” Mahar said.

Taking those precautions will help attract visitors to the lake in years to come.

“I’d rather go to a body of water where they’re taking steps to prevent it than some place where they wouldn’t be,” Pauley said.

Even for four-legged friends.

“He’ll have a good time this weekend for sure,” Mein said.

If you come into contact with harmful algal blooms, you can get sick or have an allergic reaction. If you think you’ve seen them, report it to the DEC.

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