The beach at Glimmerglass State Park has been closed for swimming due to a Harmful Algae Bloom which is affecting the north end of Otsego Lake.
The other local beaches such as 3 Mile Point and Fairy Springs remain open at this time. Jenna Utter, Cooperstown Village Clerk, says “Village Parks remain open at this time and we are monitoring the situation closely.”
A Harmful Algae Bloom or HAB happens when favorable conditions lead to an explosion of an algae. That algae then forms a bloom that can cover all or a portion of a body of water. According to the DEC website these conditions can be caused by ‘excess nutrients (phosphorus and nitrogen), lots of sunlight, low-water or low-flow conditions, calm water, and warm temperatures.’ Not all blooms are harmful but some can produce toxins, so it’s recommended that humans avoid swimming or touching an algae bloom.
According the Paul Lord of the SUNY Oneonta Biological Field Station this HAB is a result of the feeding habits of the Quagga Mussel. This thumbnail-sized mollusk entered the lake 2 years ago and as of last October “pretty much covers the bottom of Otsego Lake going to 70-80 feet.” This mussel feeds on the green algae present in the water and leaves the toxic blue green algae to grow without competition.
This algae bloom was not unexpected. “When we look at the Finger Lakes they had HABs after they got Quagga mussels” said Lord. He also said “we can expect the blooms to come earlier and be more persistent and more toxic in future years as Quagga mussels expand their footprint in Otsego Lake.”
Quagga mussels don’t just imbalance the microbiology of lakes, they also tend to grow on man-made surfaces like intake pipes for hydraulic power plants and even on the turbines themselves.
When asked what can be done about these mussels Lord said ‘They made their march across Europe in the 20th century and they are making their march across America in the 21st and we still don’t have a good solution.”
Click Here to read about when the Quagga first arrived in Otsego Lake: https://www.allotsego.com/feared-quagga-mussel-invades/