GENEVA — Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association is faced with paying a qualified lab $100 per sample for testing of algal blooms for toxins in 2020.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation has informed SLPWA officials that it will no longer pay for toxin testing of Harmful Algal Blooms collected by volunteer shore monitors around Seneca Lake.

That added cost has prompted the organization to begin its 2020 fundraising campaign now with an appeal for people to join or make donations to fund its efforts.

In a letter, SLPWA President Jacob Fox said the group spent $61,550 in 2019, broken down this way: lake monitoring, $1,000; stream monitoring, $32,000; HABs monitoring, $8,000; shoreline research, $15,550; watershed management plan, $5,000. The group had 200 trained volunteers who worked 3,000 hours of donated time.

“Seneca Lake is an incredible natural resource, the lifeblood of our local economy. It provides drinking water as well as recreational and business opportunities throughout the watershed,” Fox said. “If the lake’s water quality continues to decline, there could be significant health and economic impacts on our watershed’s communities. SLPWA is working diligently to ensure that Seneca Lake continues to be a safe drinking water and recreational resource.”

He said the DEC decision not to provide toxin testing services for the HABs program make fundraising more critical than ever for 2020.

“We must continue this testing to help keep people and animals safe. In addition, we are starting two new programs in 2020, invasive aquatic species and Lake Friendly Living. We also recently hired a highly-qualified part-time administrative coordinator,” Fox said.

Tax-deductible donations can be sent to senecalake.org/donate. Checks should be made to Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association and sent to SLPWA, P.O. Box 247, Geneva, 14456.

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