New Toxic Algal Blooms Found On Cayuga Lake


ITHACA, NY (WSKG) – New Harmful Algal Blooms, called HABs, have recently been reported on Cayuga Lake.

The most recent HABs were in the northern part of Cayuga Lake.

All HABs contain a toxic bacteria that can be harmful to humans and animals. They can be a risk whether inhaled, ingested or come in contact with the skin.

Nathanial Launer with the Citizen Science Institute said blooms have occurred throughout the summer but the bacteria in the recent ones is more toxic than earlier occurrences. The same happened in 2018.

The Institute monitors for and tests HABs on Cayuga Lake.

Community Science Institute/Ithaca, New York

A volunteer monitor collecting a same from a harmful algal bloom on Cayuga Lake in summer, 2018.

“The ones that occurred last week,” he said, “those blooms had, quite high micro-cystine toxin concentrations.”

“You should always avoid any contact with a suspicious or a confirmed harmful algal bloom because of the risks that they present,” said Launer.

The New York Department of Health cautions people not to swim, fish, boat, or wade in areas with blooms. Animals should be kept from blooms as well.

Signs of illness may include breathing difficulties, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea in people. Animals may have difficulty breathing, and convulsions and within minutes or hours of exposure. 

Launer advised checking with parks and beaches before visiting and take all warnings very seriously.