THINK BEFORE YOU SWIM IN OTSEGO LAKE

THINK BEFORE YOU
SWIM IN OTSEGO LAKE

According to Holly Waterfield, CLM SUNY Oneonta Cooperstown Campus Biological Field Station Main Laboratory the Biological Field Station (BFS) collected samples for toxin analysis around Otsego Lake in the last few days. All sites had detectable levels of the toxin microcystin; some much higher than Monday. 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. We have learned that 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 10:30am at Three Mile Point; we proceeded clockwise around the lake. Two samples were collected at the Country Club to assess the difference between a dense shoreline accumulation and more dispersed colonies along their dock. Accumulations along the shoreline/beach at the Country Club and BFS Main Lab Dock were sampled directly – these exceed the DEC’s classification of a bloom with high toxin (Total Microcystin >20 µg/L).  

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  

Sample Location (17 August 2022)  Total Microcystin (µg/L)  
Three Mile Point Swimming Area 0.3 µg/L  
5 Mile Point Shore East of Docks >5 µg/L  
BFS Thayer Boathouse 0.7 µg/L  
Springfield Public Landing Swimming Area 0.4 µg/L  
Glimmerglass State Park Beach Swimming Area >5 µg/L  
Fairy Springs Park Swimming Area 8.0 µg/L  
Cooperstown Country Club Swimming Area Dock 0.9 µg/L  
Cooperstown Country Club Swimming Area Beach > 50 µg/L 
BFS Main Laboratory Dock (Rat Cove) > 40 µg/L 
BFS Main Laboratory lake water intake (unfiltered)*< 0.15 µg/L 

*BFS Main Lab lake water intake was sampled to gauge the level of concern for those drawing water from the lake. This intake draws water from a depth of ~20-30ft (I will confirm the depth). 

The method of analysis that we are using is Total Microcystin ADDA ELISA (EPA Method 546); results in micrograms per liter (µg/L). Moving forward we will continue sampling twice weekly as conditions warrant; we will post updates on the BFS homepage. 


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