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DEC: Discoloration on Owasco Lake not harmful algal blooms

An unidentified green discoloration on much of Owasco Lake seen earlier this week is not a harmful algal bloom, the state Department of Environmental Conservation said Wednesday.

The DEC's Finger Lakes Watershed Hub first collected samples from the discoloration after it was reported Monday July 30. Testing performed on the samples did not find any evidence of the cyanobacteria that causes harmful algal blooms (HABS) according to a DEC email sent to various county and regional officials.

Such emails are routinely sent to officials including the Cayuga County Department of Health, the Owasco Lake Watershed Association, the county legislative chair and the county administrator, as well as regional authorities in the event a HAB is confirmed.

Toxin data was not yet available but would be released if results showed an elevated risk.

The email also said the samples showed evidence the discoloration was caused by a whiting event, aligning with an early prediction Tuesday by Owasco Lake Watershed Inspection Program Specialist Andrew Snell.

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