The Biological Field Station (BFS) collected samples for total microcystin analysis around Otsego Lake yesterday, 12 September 2022. Results for each location are below. We provide these results for informational purposes and to aid in decision-making; these results represent a snapshot in time. Bloom conditions are known to change quickly.
HAB conditions were evident at 6 of the 7 locations visited; community members reported HAB conditions at points along the West shoreline north of Three Mile Point, in the North end, and Hyde Bay. When visible accumulations are present on the shoreline or the water surface, caution is warranted. A link to DOH guidance is below. The cyanobacteria causing the bloom is called Microcystis aeruginosa.
To put these concentrations into context, according to the Department of Health Regulated Swimming Beaches are closed based on visual indication of a bloom and re-opened after the bloom has dissipated (visual assessment) and the total microcystin concentration is less than 4 ug/L in a sample collected the following day. Link to Dept. of Health Bloom Response and Regulated Beaches page
Dr Willard Harman of the Biological Field Station understands the biodynamics of toxic slime (“blue green algae”) and he knows what can be done to mitigate their blooms — which may become chronic if left unaddressed — in which case lake water would become non-potable, fish would die, and people would get sick. The Biological Field Station is going to come up with plans to attempt to address the problem —before Glimmerglass Lake becomes Pea Soup Pond.
Other watersheds have had this problem, other watersheds have addressed the problem, other watersheds have solved the problem. We are fortunate that we have Dr. Harman and the Biological Field Station to attempt to keep the glimmer in Glimmerglass without mercilessly maligning mussels.
The summer of 2022 will be remembered as the year our beloved Lake Otsego first suffered a Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB).
The conditions which allow a HAB to occur are known. This column reviews Village of Cooperstown public beaches, boat launch sites and most importantly, Village drinking water.
The SUNY Oneonta Biological Field Station (BFS) has monitored lake conditions for decades. This summer, when Glimmerglass State Park first noted an algae bloom on July 27 and closed, BFS began twice weekly testing at locations around the lake. The results of those tests are on their website — suny.oneonta.edu/biological-field-station.
Recently, we at The Freeman’s Journal have become aware that some of our readers, and others who may not be our readers, still have questions about the toxic algae blooms that of late have been creeping up on us from the depths and edges of our beloved Otsego Lake. So here goes an effort to get it right.
According to NOAA, whose satellites, along with those of the EPA, NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey, are picking up images of them, these blooms have been found in 2,300 lakes in the contiguous U.S., and in another 5,000 bodies of water in Alaska.
The algae, often — but not strictly — of a blue-green color, is cyanobacteria, which grows naturally in fresh water, though it also also been spotted, although less frequently, in brackish and salt water. The bacteria can also be red, neon or brown, and when it dies it exudes a rotten smell. When the water is warm, stagnant and nutrient-rich, as it presently is here, the algae can burst into blooms, which is what we are seeing along the shores of the Lake. The blooms can, and do, produce a toxin, called cyanotoxin, which can enter the mouth, nose and eyes, or be inhaled with water vapor. They can also keep blooming into the early fall, until the temperature drops.
Jane Forbes Clark, President of The Fernleigh Foundation, announced today that The Board of Directors has approved a $9,695 grant to SUNY Oneonta’s Biological Field Station (BFS) to do twice a week testing on Otsego Lake to better monitor the effect of the recent Harmful Algae Blooms (HABs).
“It is important that science and data drive our decisions about the impact of the HABs,” said Miss Clark. “There is not a local organization better equipped to do that than the Biological Field Station.”
Dr. Willard “Bill” Harman, CLM, Distinguished Service Professor, Rufus J. Thayer Otsego Lake Research Chair, and Director, SUNY Oneonta BFS, explained that “the HABs typically start in deeper waters, deriving nutrients from the bottom muds, which have been deposited there annually for as long as the lake has been in existence, then visible blooms sometimes rise to the surface.
The Biological Field Station (BFS) collected samples for toxin analysis around Otsego Lake yesterday, 22 August 2022. All sites had detectable levels of the toxin microcystin, though concentrations lake-wide were generally less than last week. Results for each location are below. We provide these results for informational purposes and to aid in decision-making; these results represent a snapshot in time. Bloom conditions are known to change rapidly with weather. When there are visible accumulations on the shoreline or the water surface, caution is warranted. A link to DOH guidance is below. The cyanobacteria causing the bloom is called Microcystis aeruginosa.
Sample Collection Notes: Collection began at 10:00am at Three Mile Point; we proceeded clockwise around the lake. Weather conditions: overcast, occasional light rain, Air temp 70° F. No surface accumulations were visible where samples were collected. Small accumulations were observed in protected areas around boats and docks at both BFS properties.
Mid-January’s cold snap invited winter sports enthusiasts onto the ice covering the southeastern corner of Otsego Lake last weekend, amazing a few passersby who wondered about their safety.
“That’s as risky a behavior as I’ve ever seen for this time of year,” said Matt Albright, Assistant to the Director of the SUNY Oneonta Biological Field Station. “That ice couldn’t have been more than an inch thick.”
“It might be as early in the season as I’ve ever seen anyone out there,” he continued, noting he watched a pair of intrepid ice fishers as they stepped farther from the edge along the streets of the Lakeland Shores development. “I love ice fishing myself, but these guys must be really devoted to it!”
Volunteer Divers Pat McCormack, Lee Ferrara, Bjorn Eilertsen, and Sarah Coney deployed no-wake zone buoys (NWZBs) and retrieved the over-winter spar buoys this morning, according to Paul Lord, who oversees the SUNY Oneonta Biological Field State diving team.
All NWZBs are deployed except for the Four Mile Point East and Five Mile Point Buoys, Lord reported. The Five-Mile Point NWZB is entangled with the BFS monitoring equipment. A carefully planned dive will be executed to disentangle the two systems once lights are in hand, he said. The Four-Mile Point East NWZB is also awaiting a light.