There’s a growing consensus among experts that Harmful Algal Blooms are increasing in frequency and intensity.
Those attending a Finger Lakes water quality symposium at Ventosa Vineyards on Thursday were told that the Finger Lakes are particularly susceptible to HABs because of nutrient runoff, warming water temperatures and the presence of zebra and quagga mussels.
Dave Matthews of the Upstate Freshwater Institute said his analysis of all available data from a variety of sources tells him that the Finger Lakes, including Seneca, Cayuga, Keuka and Canandaigua lakes, have optimal conditions for those algal blooms to contain cyanobacteria, which can be harmful to animals and humans if ingested.
“We are heading into the peak of the HAB season now,” he said. “We’re seeing that 80 percent of the HABs are on the shorelines and 24 percent of them are toxic. The Finger Lakes have a lot of open agricultural land and little forested land, another factor in increasing HABs and increasing toxicity.”