GENEVA — No news, in this case, is good news.
The first week of monitoring the shores of Seneca Lake for Harmful Algal Blooms — or HABs — has turned up no blooms as of Aug. 11.
But the Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association warns that HABs didn’t start being observed last summer until Sept. 4, and then were especially prevalent between Sept. 9 and 16.
SLPWA HABs Director Frank DiOrio said shoreline monitoring began Aug. 5 and will continue through Oct. 6. More than 120 trained shoreline survey volunteers are monitoring about 60 miles of Seneca Lake shoreline for HABs.
“We have one of the best monitoring and reporting systems in the state,” DiOrio said. “We use this system weekly to provide our members and the public with the best possible HABs status information we can.”
DiOrio said last year, 39 of the 41 samples collected were tested and found to be blooms, an identification rate of more than 95 percent. “If there is a bloom in there, there is a very good chance our network of volunteers will find it,” he said.
He noted that HABs are complex and unpredictable.
“They enjoy sunlight, warm temperatures and calm water surfaces. Seneca Lake has been choppy much of the time and the lake is also on the cool side, another factor,” DiOrio said.
HABs can become toxic with cyanobacteria and be harmful to the health of animals and humans if ingested.
People living on the lake or interested in the HABs monitoring program should visit the website senecalake.org for the most current information.