Harmful algal blooms spotted on local waterbodies

SARANAC LAKE — The Paul Smith’s College Adirondack Watershed Institute announced on Wednesday that harmful algal blooms have been found on Upper Saranac Lake, Follensby Clear Pond, Whey Pond and Floodwood Pond.

The New York state Department of Environmental Conservation’s HAB geographic information system also reported HAB spottings on Lake Clear on Monday and Lake Colby in late September.

Cyanobacteria blooms are, as their nickname suggests, harmful to people and pets. According to the DEC, a person’s sensitivity to HABs exposure can vary. Regardless, cyanobacteria is toxic and can affect people through skin exposure or ingestion. Anybody who wants to enjoy some lakeside recreation should check the HABs GIS and ensure there is no active bloom in their chosen body of water before embarking. Contact with a bloom can cause symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, skin or throat irritation, allergic reactions or breathing difficulties. Pets — specifically, dogs — who swim in affected water and later ingest the cyanobacteria while grooming can also experience negative effects such as seizures, convulsions, paralysis, disorientation, inactivity, elevated heart rate and difficulty breathing. The DEC recommends seeking professional care if contact is made with a HAB.

HABs are a fairly common natural occurrence, though they are often spurred on by a lapse in watershed management or particular weather conditions.

The DEC asks citizens to “know it, avoid it, report it” when it comes to HABs. HABs have several typical presentations, described by the DEC as “streaks, spilled paint, pea soup, floating clumps or dots.” They are green in color. There is a suspicious algal bloom report form on the DEC’s HABs page, and those who suspect a HAB are encouraged to either fill out the form or contact HABsInfo@dec.ny.gov for more information.


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