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Blue-Green Algal Bloom Notices

The 2015 Blue-Green Algae Bloom Notification season has ended. Notification will resume in the spring of 2016. Blue-green algae blooms may still occur during the fall and winter. Visit the blue-green algae, FAQ, and archive web pages for additional information.

Waterbodies with blue-green algae bloom notices are listed on this web page during the notification season (May-October). Information about the location of blooms is reported through routine DEC lake monitoring programs, by Citizens Statewide Lake Assessment Program volunteers, partner monitoring, and from public reports.

There may be other waterbodies with blue-green algae blooms that have not been reported to the DEC.

Some waterbodies may have blue-green algae blooms during the fall and winter. To report a blue-green algae bloom, follow the reporting instructions.

Blooms of other algae are not reported here. The 'What Should You Do' advice provided below should also be followed when blooms not reported here are encountered.

Regulated swimming beaches are regularly monitored and evaluated for the presence of blue-green algae blooms. For information about regulated swimming beaches contact your local health department.

DEC encourages the public to view the archive reports to be aware of lakes that were listed on the notification web page in the past.

Lake Champlain blooms are not reported here. For information about blue-green algae on Lake Champlain, visit the Lake Champlain Committee monitoring page and the Vermont Department of Health's blue-green algae notification page (above two links leave DEC website.)

Status & Extent of Bloom Categories

Suspicious-what does this mean?

Conditions at these waterbodies fit the description of a blue green algae bloom, based on visual observations and/or digital photographs.

It is not known if there are harmful toxins in the water

Blooms may be present in all or part of the waterbody. Laboratory analysis has not been done to determine if this is a blue-green algae bloom. Blue green algae are irritants to some people even if toxins are not present.

Confirmed-what does this mean?

Water sampling results have confirmed the presence of a blue green algae bloom which may produce toxins.

Waterbodies noted with "HIGH TOXINS" indicate that laboratory data suggests that there are toxins in enough quantities to cause health effects when people and animals come in contact with the water through swimming or drinking.

Waterbodies noted as "open water" indicate that the bloom is widespread and bloom conditions may be worse along shorelines and within recreational areas. Special precautions should be taken in situations when "HIGH TOXINS" are also reported with "open water" because toxins are likely to be higher in shoreline areas.

Blooms and toxins may be present in all or part of the waterbody.

Extent of Bloom-what does this mean?

The extent of the bloom is an estimate of the size of the bloom within the waterbody and is recorded by monitoring program staff or from public reports.

Small Localized: Blooms affecting a small area of the Lake, limited from one to several neighboring properties.

Large Localized: Blooms affecting many properties within an entire cove, along a large segment of the shoreline, or in a specific region of the lake.

Widespread: Blooms affecting the entire lake, a large portion of the lake, or most to all of the shoreline.

Open water: Sample was collected near the center of the lake and may indicate that the bloom is widespread. Algae or toxin levels in some shoreline areas could be highly elevated.

What should I do?

  • If you believe you have been exposed to a bloom and are experiencing symptoms, seek immediate medical attention and contact the local health department.
  • If people or pets are exposed to a bloom, rinse with clean water.
  • People and pets should stay out of any water that is discolored, has surface scums or shows other evidence of a bloom.
  • Don't drink the water in or near the bloom- boiling water does not protect people or pets from blue-green algal toxins.
  • Anglers should not eat fish caught from areas that look like spilled paint or pea soup.
  • For more information about health concerns visit http://www.health.ny.gov/ and search "blue green algae".
  • More information about blue-green algae blooms.

Suspect a blue-green algae bloom?

If you suspect that you have seen a blue-green algae bloom or you, your family, or pet has been in contact with a blue-green algae bloom follow the 'What should I do?' advice and please fill out and submit the Suspicious Algae Bloom Report Form (PDF, 527 KB).

You are encouraged to include digital photographs as email attachments with the form (close-up, and landscape showing extent and location of bloom). If possible, please include an image from an online mapping application such as Google, Bing or Yahoo Maps, with a marker at the bloom location.

You may also contact your regional DEC office or contact:

Scott Kishbaugh, Division of Water
Phone: (518) 402-8179
Email the Division of Water

Want to receive weekly updates?

Sign up to the Division of Water's Making Waves email listserve to receive weekly updates on blue-green algae bloom notices in New York waterbodies. Making Waves also provides information about new and important water-related issues, events and news, which could affect your watershed.

To subscribe to the MakingWaves listserve Subscribe to GovDelivery ,and enter the requested information. When you reach the topics page, check the "Making Waves" box under the "Water" category. You can expect to receive an email from this listserve about once a week. We encourage you to subscribe and to share the listserve with others.