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DEC looking to resolve Owasco Lake harmful algae monitoring problems

The transition of Owasco Lake’s harmful algal bloom surveillance program to a volunteer-led effort has allowed for a greatly expanded area of coverage, but the first full year with volunteers in the primary role has also come with some growing pains.

Over the past four years, as harmful algal blooms (HABs) have become a persistent problem across New York’s lakes, the state Department of Environmental Conservation has established numerous surveillance programs to monitor the blooms.

On Owasco Lake, the DEC in 2015 first partnered with the Owasco Lake Watershed Inspection Program, the professional agency formed by an agreement between the city of Auburn, town of Owasco, and Cayuga County, to take samples at six locations around the lake.

Beginning in 2016, the DEC and the inspection program began training and including volunteers from the Owasco Watershed Lake Association (OWLA) in order to expand monitoring beyond what the program’s limited staff could accomplish while also attending to their other responsibilities.

The Citizen:
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