Shoreline Monitoring for Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs)

Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association is diligently working to develop and implement a Harmful Algal Bloom (HABs) identification and notification process for Seneca Lake. Our Shoreline Monitoring program began in 2014 with a simple phone number, the HABs Hotline. In just four short years, the program has evolved into a successful collaboration with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC) and Finger Lakes Institute (FLI) at Hobart and William Smith Colleges.

Last year, 80 volunteers from the Seneca Lake community submitted weekly reports of shoreline observations to the NYS DEC for the months of August and September. August was uneventful, however, the last two weeks of September, the conditions were ideal for algal blooms. Pure Waters received reports of suspicious algal blooms from around the entire lake with volunteers collecting over 60 suspicious bloom samples for analysis at Finger Lakes  Institute.

The laboratory tests confirmed that 50 of the 60 samples were in fact Harmful Algal Blooms and that 22 out of the 50 HAB samples produced high levels of toxins. The HABs activity on Seneca Lake in 2017 was a dramatic increase from prior years, as you can see in the summary below.








In 2018, Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association is expanding the depth and breadth of the Shoreline Monitoring program by:

• Increasing the number of Shoreline Survey Volunteers from 80 to 100.
• Adding more monitoring zones to the shoreline to ensure maximum survey coverage.
• Establishing HABs regional coordinators to assist Shoreline Survey Volunteers.
• Raising awareness about HABs by incorporating HABs education in publications and forums.


Learn More…