CLWA News & Water Quality Updates

October 3, 2016

After reviewing the Habitat Management Plan for the 6,832 acre Hi Tor Wildlife Management Area for 2016-2025 and attending the Public Information session in Naples on September 8, 2016, CLWA issued the following comments to the DEC:  CLWA_Hi Tor comments

September 21, 2016

Watershed Manager Update:

A couple of weeks ago, we observed some very small and isolated concentrations of blue green algae along the shoreline of the lake.  We sent samples to SUNY ESF on September 7th, one from the most concentrated blue green algae we saw and a second sample from the open water.  We just received the toxin analysis results, and the good news is that no toxin was found in either sample.  Although this is a good sign, it doesn’t guarantee that the blue green algae won’t start producing toxins in the future. In addition, you should still avoid contact if you see a bloom, because blue green algae can still have health impacts even if it is not producing the toxin.

We have continued to monitor the shoreline over the past couple of weeks, and the blue green algae seems to be even more isolated now than before.  The Watershed Association has volunteers that regularly monitor water clarity, and they have continued to observe excellent water clarity that was above 6 meters this week.

Please contact us if you see anything suspicious on the lake or if you have any questions or observations. The lake surface is 10,500 acres and has 36 miles of shoreline so the more eyes the better!

September 10, 2016

From the Watershed Program Manager:

Although the vast majority of the lake continues to not show any visual accumulation of algae and has excellent water clarity; yesterday’s relatively calm winds have once again allowed isolated pockets of algae to accumulate along small sections of shoreline on both sides of the lake.  The Kershaw Park area of the lake continues to be clear any of visible algae.

2016We received the results from Wednesday’s sample collection and they mirror these visual assessments.  There were two samples collected and transported to SUNY-ESF.  The first was an isolated shoreline sample in the most concentrated area of blue green algae that we could find (see picture).  This site (not surprisingly) had a concentration of 100ug/L of blue green algae chlorophyll-a. The blue green algae was identified as microcystis- the same as last year.  The DEC bloom threshold is 25ug/L so this was obviously well above the bloom threshold. The second sample was an open water sample where we did see “dots” in the water indicating some algae at the surface.  The results from this sample showed an undetectable amount of Blue Green Algae in the water.  The toxin results for both samples will come back in 48 hours.

The accumulation of algae occurs typically in a cove or area where the natural water flow is being blocked by an object sticking out from shore.  We are seeing these isolated concentrations on both sides of the lake, but the north end was very clear.  From a visual analysis- over 95% of the shoreline that we saw was beautiful and free of any concentration of algae.  With the warm sunny weather, conditions can change quickly on the lake and can vary throughout the lake.  The overall high clarity of the water and that we are only seeing small isolated pockets of algae continues to give me great confidence that we will not experience anything like we did last year.

Our biggest take home message is to stay out of the areas where the algae is accumulating. Based on our test results, the areas where the algae is accumulating will be above the DEC bloom criteria and will be well below the bloom criteria in areas that do not have algae accumulating. Please continue to use the visual indicators to look for blooms using our guide or visit the NYS DEC website. We will update our websites and send  when we get the toxin results back from SUNY-ESF or if we get any new information on changes to the quality of the lake.

Please contact us if you see anything suspicious on the lake or if you have any questions or observations. The lake surface is 10,500 acres and has 36 miles of shoreline so the more eyes the better!

September 7, 2016 Water Quality Update

We are starting to see some isolated surface accumulations of blue green algae (cyanobacteria) along small sections of the east side of the lake.  The very slight westerly winds are accumulating the algae that seem to be concentrating at the surface and shifting them to the shoreline areas.  So far we are not seeing any or have not heard about any accumulations on the west side of the lake.  On the east side, we have gotten calls or inspected sites from the northeast section of the lake through the Cottage City area and to Vine Valley.  The vast majority of the shoreline area is algae free, with small pockets of algae interspersed along the shoreline.

The good news is that our water clarity readings (secchi disk) have gone from 4 meters (10 days ago) to 8 meters today!  This substantial increase in clarity seems inconsistent with the accumulation of blue green algae on the shoreline, but we think the hot calm weather is causing the remaining algae to come to the surface and thus get pushed to isolated sections of the shoreline.  We will continue to monitor these areas and ask residents to email us photos or give us a call to provide observations. With the warm sunny weather, conditions can change quickly on the lake and can vary throughout the lake.  However, the increase in clarity has me hopeful that we will not experience anything like we did last year.

We collected two water quality samples, one shoreline sample in the most concentrated area of blue green algae that we could find and the second sample was an open water sample where we did see “dots” in the water indicating some algae at the surface.  These samples have been transported to SUNY-ESF for analysis for both the concentration of blue green algae and whether the algae is producing the toxin.

The biggest take home message is to stay out of these areas where the algae is accumulating.  Most likely, these areas would be above the DEC bloom criteria.  At the same time, large sections of the lake continue to be free of accumulations of algae and the overall clarity is great for this time of year.   Please continue to use the visual indicators to look for blooms using our guide or visit the NYS DEC website. We will update our websites when we get the results back from SUNY-ESF or if we get any new information on changes to the quality of the lake.

Please contact us if you see anything suspicious on the lake or if you have any questions or observations. The lake surface is 10,500 acres and has 36 miles of shoreline so the more eyes the better!

To report suspicious blooms contact:

Kevin Olvany
Canandiagua Lake Watershed Council Program Manager
kevin.olvany@canandaiguanewyork.gov
(585) 396-3630

August 27, 2016 Water Quality Update

Dr. Gilman completed our monthly lake sampling on Friday and the clarity was holding at 4 meters at both mid lake stations.  Dr. Gilman also reported that there was no surface streaks or concentrations of algae observed on the lake.  Nutrient samples were collected and will be sent to our certified lab for analysis.  Dr. Gilman also collected samples from six sites throughout the lake and completed laboratory analysis for total chlorophyll-a, which is a measurement of all types of algae in the water.  These readings ranged from 2.47ug/L to 7.44ug/L of total algae.  The DEC bloom criteria is 25ug/L of just Blue Green algae, so these results further confirm that we are well below levels that are concerning.  With the warm sunny weather, conditions can change quickly on the lake and can vary throughout the lake.  Please continue to use the visual indicators to look for blooms using our guide or visit the NYS DEC website. Please contact us (396-3630) if you see anything suspicious on the lake or if you have any questions or observations.  The lake surface is 10,500 acres and has 36 miles of shoreline so the more eyes the better!

August 25, 2016 Water Quality Update

The Watershed Council partnered with Finger Lakes Institute (FLI) and Watershed Association Board Member Ted Carman, (who provided the boat), to monitor the lake at multiple locations yesterday using both FLCC’s YSI blue green algae probe and using the FLI’s blue green algae fluoroprobe. We observed were very low concentrations of blue green algae in the lake.  Our highest concentrations were approximately 2.4 ug/L of blue green algae, while the DEC criteria for a bloom is 25 ug/L.  We also saw an increase in water clarity to 4.1 meters from previous readings that were around 3.2 meters last Friday.  We are not seeing any surface streaking of algae and have not seen any concentrations in the near shore areas.

This is good news. However, as we learned last year, conditions can change quickly on the lake and can vary throughout the lake.  Please continue to use the visual indicators to look for blooms using our guide or visit the NYS DEC website.  We will send notification if we get any new information on changes to the quality of the lake.  Dr. Gilman will be out on the lake Friday doing our normal monthly lake sampling and we will post our available results Friday evening or Saturday morning.  Please contact Kevin or Kim at the addresses below if you see anything suspicious on the lake or if you have any questions or observations.  The lake surface is 10,500 acres and has 36 miles of shoreline, so the more eyes the better!

August 22, 2016 – Water Quality Update

We received the results from the three surface water grab samples that were collected on Friday.  The good news is that the surface water sample results are not showing any real concentration of blue green algae (specifically microcystis) and is clear of toxins.  At the same time, our overall water clarity is still well below average (3 meter range) in the open water areas and microscopic analysis by Dr. Bruce Gilman identified microcystis as the dominant algae.  Based on this, we think there may have been a higher concentration of microcystis below the surface of the lake, but still substantially below bloom levels.  The rain event on Sunday and the northwest winds of Monday have mixed the algae throughout the water column reducing the potential for high concentrations.  We still have not seen any surface streaking or concentrations in the near shore areas like we saw last year.

We will continue to partner with Dr. Bruce Gilman and others to monitor the lake and encourage residents to contact us if they see any suspicious blooms.   It is important to remember that microcystis has been in the lake for a very long time.  The concern is when you get high concentrations of microcystis.  The test results and visual observations are telling us we do not have high concentrations of microcystis that would be cause for concern, but lake conditions can change pretty quickly and there can be substantial variability in concentrations across the lake.  Please use the visual indicators to look for blooms using our guide or visit the NYS DEC website. We will send updates if we get any new information on changes to the quality of the lake.

August 20, 2016 – Water Quality Update

We are starting to see a decrease in water clarity resulting from an increase in algae in the lake. Secchi disk readings have decreased from 4.5 meters to 3.2 meters in the last week. The dominant algae is microcystis, which is the blue green algae that bloomed last year. However, we are not seeing surface concentrations like we had last year and have not reached bloom levels. Water samples have been sent in for analysis, and we will post the results as soon as we receive them.

Based on our observations today, the near shore areas had good water clarity and the algae was observed in the open water areas. Conditions can change quickly on the lake, as the algae can move up and down in the water column and can be pushed to different areas of the lake by the wind. Use caution and avoid any suspicious blooms if you see one.

See our quick blue green algae guide or visit the NYS DEC website and NYS DOH website for more information on blue green algae.  If you have any questions or see a suspicious bloom, please email us at kevin.olvany@canandaiguanewyork.gov and kmcgarry@canandaiguanewyork.gov .

April 25, 2016 – A Warning Against Lawn Waste in the Lake

Spring cleaning of a lawn should not equate to trashing the lake.Yard Waste

This photograph shows yard debris that was pitched into Canandaigua Lake this week. Fortunately, this incident was halted by the Canandaigua Lake Watershed Inspector before the remainder of the yard waste raked to the shoreline was thrown into the water.

Yard Waste in the water is broken down by bacteria, releasing nutrients that feed algae and water weeds.

Composting facilities are available at Town transfer centers if residents are unable or unwilling to compost or shred leaves at home. There are other ways to clean the lawn than by using debris to grow more algae and water weeds in the lake.

October 10, 2015 – CLWA Review of Everwilde DEIS

CLWA submitted a review of the proposed Everwilde Inn and Spa Draft Environmental Impact Statement to the Town of South Bristol on October 19th, 2015.

To read the letter: REVIEW of EVERWILDE DEIS_CLWA_10.19

September 25, 2015 Blue Green Algae Update

Three samples were collected yesterday early afternoon and transported SUNY-ESF in Syracuse to better understand current Blue Green algae and microcystin (toxin) levels in the lake.  Based on the gentle north east wind patterns two samples were collected along the West side- one at Onanda (off the fishing pier), and the second site was just south of Menteth Point where algae was concentrating in an isolated patch along the shore. The third site was in the middle of the lake across from the Yacht Club where some streaking of algae was occurring and visible dots of algae could be seen in the water.

The Onanda Fishing Pier and Yacht Club samples best represent the general water conditions in the lake where as the site just south of Menteth Point represents the small patches of higher concentrations of algae that we see collecting in shoreline areas and are the areas we tell people to definitely avoid.

The table below shows the results of the three samples.  The Onanda Fishing Pier and Mid Lake Yacht Club samples are showing some Blue Green Algae and Microcystin levels, but both sites are below the NYS Dept. of Health recreational contact limit of 10ug/L for microcystins.  Conditions can change on a 10,553 acre lake so continue to use caution through the weekend.

1250a_concentrated bloom

Areas with concentrated blooms should be avaoided. Image taken just south of Menteth Point (sample site).

The third site (see picture) just south of Menteth Point represents the small patches that need to be avoided.  These areas tend to accumulate at the shoreline based on wind patterns.  The table below provides the sample results.  Pictures are also provided for each of the locations to help with understanding what these levels look like.  Overall, caution still needs to be used before entering the water and use your visual indicators to determine if algae blooms are present.

Location Total chlorophyll Blue green algae chlorophyll Microcystins Concentration
Onanda Fishing Pier 2.1 ug/L total 0.6 ug/L 0.3 ug/L
Mid-lake Yacht Club 7.1 ug/L total 3.7 ug/L 1.75 ug/L
Small isolated area with concentrated bloom just south of Menteth Point 94 ug/L 83 ug/L – Bloom 17.6 ug/L

 

More information on the results:

Blue Green Algae abundance is based on blue-algal specific chlorophyll where low represents 0-3, medium 3-10, high 10-30, and bloom >30 ug/l blue-green algal chlorophyll.

World Health Organization Guidelines for interpretation of the results based on the presence or absence of known cyanobacteria toxins. In cases where no toxin was detected, the risk category is estimated from the detection limit. Blue-green algae may pose a risk from compounds other than the measured toxins and therefore all blooms should be avoided.

US-EPA has recently released its guidelines for drinking water. Those guidelines are 1.6 ug/L (adults) and 0.3 ug/L (infants) for 10 days.

0.0-0.3 μg/L Little to no risk from blue-green algal toxins: Minimal Toxicity.

0.3-1.0 μg/L Toxin detected but below the WHO drinking water guidelines: Low Toxicity

1.0 – 10 μg/L Toxin levels are above the WHO drinking water guidelines but generally below the limits for recreational contact: Moderate Toxicity

10-20 μg/L Toxin levels are significant and approach the WHO limit for recreational contact: moderate-high Toxicity

>20 μg/L Toxin levels exceed the WHO guidelines for recreational contact: High Toxicity. Users should avoid contact with the blooms.

If anyone has questions or observations over the weekend, please call my cell phone (747-8719) or email me at Kevin.Olvany@canandaiguanewyork.gov.

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Onanda Fishing Pier sample site

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Mid Lake Yacht Club sample site

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September 23, 2015 Update

The City Pier Sample had a toxicity of 3.5ug/L and the City Dock had a toxicity of 1.2ug/L.  Both of the samples are below the Health Department’s limit of 10ug/L for recreational contact.

The warm, sunny and very calm wind conditions of yesterday afternoon increased the concentration of surface algae in the northern third of the lake.   We are expected to have a north wind  of 5-10mph today that will hopefully mix the algae and reduce surface algae concentrations.

Continue to use caution before entering the water and use the visual indicators to determine if a bloom might be present.  Please call Watershed Manager Kevin Olvany’s office phone (585) 396-3630 or cell phone (585) 747-8719 if you have any observations or questions.

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September 21,2015 BGA Update

September 21, 2015 Watershed Council Program Manager update: The weather conditions over the weekend and today have not been favorable to continued algal growth.  Most shoreline areas have been free of algal blooms with fairly clear water along the near shore areas.  We collected two water quality samples this morning and transported them to Syracuse ESF for Blue Green Algae and Microcystin analysis.  The samples were collected along the City Pier where there was visible evidence of algae building up along the Pier and off the City Dock (near Canandaigua Lady) to represent more general water quality conditions.  The City Pier had a concentration of 6.3ug/L of Blue Green algae and the City Dock had a concentration of 1.7ug/L.  Both of these samples are well below the NYS-DEC bloom criteria of 25ug/L of Blue Green Algae.  We are awaiting the Microcystin (toxin) results, which should be available sometime tomorrow morning (Tuesday- 9/22).

I toured the northern third of the lake this afternoon by boat and there was no visible algae concentrations on the water surface, except in the northwest section of the lake near the City Pier.   Most of the lake visually looked like the sample that was collected near the City Dock this morning.  This is also encouraging news compared to what we were seeing last week!   However, water clarity measurements in the middle of the lake using the secchi disk were slightly less than they were last week.  This is telling us that there is still an elevated population of algae in the water column.  We are working with FLCC to analyze algae species composition to see if the types of algae/zooplankton might be changing.

The forecast calls for increasing air temperature and sunny conditions throughout the week.  This will potentially repeat the scenario that happened last week with increased algae at the surface.  Therefore, lake users need to use caution before entering the water and continue to use the visual indicators to determine if a bloom might be present.  Please call my office phone (585) 396-3630 or cell phone (585) 747-8719 if you have any observations or questions. We are planning a more formal presentation on this unprecedented increase in algae on the lake and will keep the public informed on the date/time and location of the presentation.

September 17, 2015

From today’s Daily Messenger: : Algae worsens on Canandaigua Lake.  Here are some images from the past several days: 0916151410a 0916151401 0916151104

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September 16, 2015 Blue Green Algae & Lake Foam Update

Watershed Council Program Manager Update: Today’s 80 + degree F temperatures along with sunny calm conditions have provided the right conditions for increased algae levels on the lake.  Conditions are worsening on the lake and there are full bloom conditions in multiple areas including the north end of the lake along Kershaw.  We are also getting reports that the southern portion of the lake is also seeing an increase in algae. Please continue to follow the various advisories that have been posted around the lake

2015-09-11 12.13.48

Image captured by CLWA Member Andrea Vittum

As many of you have noticed, we are also seeing substantial white foam on the lake over the last 10 days. The foaming of surface waters on lakes is not a new phenomenon. It is a natural process that has been going on for a long time in many different parts of the world.  Foam is created when the surface tension of water (attraction of surface molecules to each other) is reduced and the air is mixed in, forming bubbles.  When organisms, such as algae, plants, fish and/or zebra mussels die and decompose they release cellular products (surfactant) into the water, which reduces the surface tension.  When the wind blows, the waves on the lake agitate this surface agent, thus transforming it into sudsy white foam.   Currents and boats also mix air with the organic compounds present in the lake to produce foam.  The foam will frequently form parallel streaks in the open water, caused by wind-induced surface currents.  It will also collect in large quantities on windward shores, coves, or in eddies.   This is especially true on the east shore of Canandaigua Lake. Over the past years Skaneateles Lake, Cayuga Lake, Keuka Lake and Oneida Lake have also experienced foam.  We have also had substantial foam on the lake in September of 2001 and then again in 2006.  We have periodically seen foam in recent years as well.  In 2002, the Watershed Council worked with Dr. Greg Boyer, a leading researcher from the State College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, to collect and analyze foam samples from Canandaigua Lake.  The purpose of the research (included Dr. Bruce Gilman of FLCC, and Webster Persall of DEC) was to try to scientifically link the production of foam to its source.  Samples were analyzed for organic matter, lipids, protein, carbon, carbohydrates, fatty acids and nitrogen.  The chemical testing on the foam however could not definitively pinpoint the source of the foam, but did show a mixture of plant and animal organic matter.  Results did rule out any man-made sources.  We are going to reach out to Dr. Boyer to see if he can analyze this year’s foam.

There are two main theories we are investigating.  We are going to try to determine if there has been a die off of Quagga Mussels that cumulatively excreted large amounts of surfactants (organic matter) into the water creating the foam.  The second theory is that ecosystem changes wrought by Quagga Mussels, such as an increase in blue-green algae, may also be a contributing source.  In 2001/2002, we documented a temporary Zebra Mussel die-off through age-classification of Zebra Mussels in the Lake.  Analysis performed by Finger Lakes Community College showed that the overwhelming population of living Zebra Mussels collected in eight different lake locations was less than six months old.  We are going to try to do the same analysis for Quagga Mussels which have largely replaced Zebra Mussels in the lake.

Those who live on the shoreline can help us by investigating your shoreline for empty Mussel shells.  Please let us know what you find! We hope to have Dr. Greg Boyer out for a presentation sometime this fall to discuss the substantial increase in Blue Green algae on Canandaigua Lake and what his research is documenting across New York State.  We will keep you posted.

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September 11, 2015 Blue Green Algae Advisory Update

September 11, 2015 Watershed Council Program Manager update: We received the latest results from SUNY-ESF Syracuse for our latest round of blue green algae and Microcystin sampling.  This set of samples was focused on the race course for the upcoming triathlon.  Samples were collected yesterday morning by me and the triathlon race coordinator dropped them off at the Syracuse lab.  Conditions along the race course looked similar to what we were seeing on the lake yesterday morning so they are a good indicator of what we are generally seeing on the lake.  There was visible algae in the water column, but no streaking or full bloom conditions.   Three samples were collected along different sections of the race course, near shore (100 yards out), middle of the course (1000 feet out) and then about 1/2 mile from shore.  The near shore sample had a toxin level of 1.40ug/L, the middle race course had 1.03ug/L, and the end of swim course had 1.14ug/L.  These are encouraging numbers as they are well below the NYS- Dept. of Health (10ug/L) and World Health Organization (20ug/L) recreational contact limits. We have also done extensive lake (by boat) and shoreline (by car) visual monitoring over the last few days.

Thursday and Friday are showing fairly clear shoreline conditions except for some isolated areas where there are pockets of algae streaks to one full bloom condition in a small area on the northeast side of the lake.  Lake clarity in the middle of the lake is not changing much with readings continuing to show about 3 meters with a couple spots just below 3 meters and some spots getting to 3.7 meters.  This is telling us that there is still a significant population of blue green algae in the water. Please continue to follow the various advisories that have been put on the lake. Also, feel free to call my cell phone over the weekend 747-8719 if you have any questions or observations.

From the NYS Health Department website: https://www.health.ny.gov/environmental/water/drinking/bluegreenalgae.htm

Blue-green algae, technically known as cyanobacteria, are microscopic organisms that are naturally present in lakes and streams. They usually are present in low numbers. Blue-green algae can become very abundant in warm, shallow, undisturbed surface water that receives a lot of sunlight. When this occurs, they can form blooms that discolor the water or produce floating rafts or scums on the surface of the water.

What are the potential health effects from drinking or coming in contact with water containing blue-green algae?

Some blue-green algae produce toxins that could pose a health risk to people and animals when they are exposed to them in large enough quantities. Health effects could occur when surface scums or water containing high levels of blue-green algal toxins are swallowed, through contact with the skin or when airborne droplets containing toxins are inhaled while swimming, bathing or showering. Consuming water containing high levels of blue-green algal toxins has been associated with effects on the liver and on the nervous system in laboratory animals, pets, livestock and people. Livestock and pet deaths have occurred when animals consumed very large amounts of accumulated algal scum from along shorelines. Direct contact or breathing airborne droplets containing high levels of blue-green algal toxins during swimming or showering can cause irritation of the skin, eyes, nose and throat and inflammation in the respiratory tract.

Recreational contact, such as swimming, and household contact, such as bathing or showering, with water not visibly affected by a blue green algae bloom is not expected to cause health effects. However, some individuals could be especially sensitive to even low levels of algal toxins and might experience mild symptoms such as skin, eye or throat irritation or allergic reactions. There is less information available about the potential health effects of long-term exposure to low levels of blue-green algal toxins. Some limited evidence from human studies suggests that long-term consumption of untreated surface waters containing high levels of blue green algal toxins could be associated with an increased risk of liver cancer. However, people in these studies also were exposed to other factors associated with liver cancer. As a result, it is unknown whether algal toxin exposure contributed to this risk. Long-term, continuous exposure to algal toxins in the Northeast is unlikely, because blue-green algal blooms are likely to occur only during the hottest part of the summer. New York State public water supplies that use surface water sources also have operational controls to minimize the introduction of blue-green algae in drinking water.

How do I know if I am being exposed to blue green algae? People should suspect that blue-green algae could be present in water that is visibly discolored or that has surface scums. Colors can include shades of green, blue-green, yellow, brown or red. Water affected by blue-green algal blooms often is so strongly colored that it can develop a paint-like appearance. People should suspect that blue-green algae could be present in water that is visibly discolored or that has surface scums. Colors can include shades of green, blue-green, yellow, brown or red. Water affected by blue-green algal blooms often is so strongly colored that it can develop a paint-like appearance.

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Sept 9, 2015: Update on the Blue Green Algae Advisory

September 9, 2015- We received the results from the Syracuse Lab that the microcystin-LR is present in the lake.  Microcystin-LR is a toxin that can be produced by blue green algae. These results are associated with a water sample that was collected on September 1st and had the highest Blue Green Algae level sampled on the lake (39ug/L). The microcystin-LR levels were 16.7 ug/l, just below the World Health Organization elevated risk threshold of 20 ug/l for swimming. Results that are in the 10-20 μg/L microcystin-LR toxin levels are significant and approach the WHO limit for recreational contact.  This sample was collected in an obvious bloom area.  Based on these results and continuing increased algae levels in the lake; extra caution should be used before entering the lake. Conditions change quickly on the lake. Before entering the lake, continue to use visual cues to determine if it is safe.  Look for visibly discolored water or that has surface scums. Colors can include shades of green, blue-green, yellow, brown or red. Water affected by blue-green algal blooms often is so strongly colored that it can develop a paint-like appearance. For more guidance on visual cues, please visit the NYS DEC and DOH blue green websites. Blue-green algae may pose a risk from compounds other than the measured toxins and therefore all blooms should be avoided. Conditions along the western side of the lake along with reports from the east side of the lake were documenting very high pockets of algae.

From the NYS Health Department website: https://www.health.ny.gov/environmental/water/drinking/bluegreenalgae.htm

Blue-green algae, technically known as cyanobacteria, are microscopic organisms that are naturally present in lakes and streams. They usually are present in low numbers. Blue-green algae can become very abundant in warm, shallow, undisturbed surface water that receives a lot of sunlight. When this occurs, they can form blooms that discolor the water or produce floating rafts or scums on the surface of the water.

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Update: Blue Green Algae Toxicity Reports

algae_canandaigua_9.2.15September 8, 2015- Toxicity results came in today for water samples that were sent to the lab in Syracuse for further analysis. One of the most concerning samples that was send was taken from the middle of the lake (just north of the Yacht Club) where there was visible surface streaking and discoloration. Local analysis by Dr.Bruce Gilman discovered that this was the highest Blue Green Algae level sampled on the lake, with the total chlorophyll level at 46 ug/L and a blue green chlorophyll level of 39 ug/L. This sample was then sent to Syracuse to determine whether the algae was producing a toxin that can make it harmful to humans and animals.

The toxin results from this sample came in today showing microcystin- LR levels of 16.7ug/L, which is just below the World Health Organization elevated risk threshold of 20 ug/L for swimming.  The Blue Green Algae Advisory is still in full effect. These results do not represent conditions across the entire lake, but precautions should be taken before entering the lake in any location. The confirmed presence of toxins in the water heightens the risk factor associated with swimming in the lake. Please give a good visual inspection before entering the lake, look for signs of blooms, and avoid contact if they are observed. We encourage you to review the Department of Health and DEC  websites for additional information on Blue Green Algal Blooms. Additional samples were collected today and sent to the Syracuse lab for further analysis. These samples were from the North end of the lake (off the City dock), and from the West side (Butler Rd. Beach). We are expecting those results within the next day or two, and will send notification once they are received.

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Blue Green Algae Advisory Update

September 5, 2015 – Today, the Department of Health conducted a test for microcystin, a type of toxin that may be produced by blue green algae, at Deep Run Beach.  The test came back negative for the presence of microcystin and the beach is now reopened. Although this test is encouraging, the results do not represent conditions across the entire lake, so the lake continues to have a blue green algae advisory and precautions should be taken before entering the lake in any location. As evidence, the Department of Health also conducted a visual inspection of the beach at Onanda Park today.  The beach contained visible levels of blue green algae.  Based on Department of Health guidelines,  Onanda Park Beach will remain closed. We are still waiting on additional toxin test results for other parts of the lake from the lab in Syracuse.  These results will be posted on the website as soon as they become available.

Even though some of the beaches are opened today, Canandaigua Lake still has a blue green algae bloom advisory. Water clarity readings from this morning suggest that algae levels are still significantly higher than average on the lake.  Conditions can change quickly on the lake, so continue to use caution before entering the lake in all areas.  Please continue to follow the recommendations for blue green algae blooms from the Department of Environmental Conservation and Department of Health.

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Update: Blue Green Algae Advisory Still Active

September 4, 2015 – As reported on Wednesday evening, the water samples that were collected earlier this week that came back with elevated levels of blue green algae were sent for further testing to a DEC lab in Syracuse. The additional analysis is to determine whether or not the algae is producing a toxin that can be harmful to humans and animals. This evening, we received word from the DEC that the lab in Syracuse that is running the toxicity samples has been swamped with Blue Green Algae samples from across the state.  They are also having some temporary technical issues that they hope to get resolved. CLWA is working closely with the Watershed Manager and will report DEC results as soon as they become available to us.

The latest lake conditions for Friday, September 4th, 2015-  The conditions along the shoreline in the morning hours were good in many spots, but by mid-afternoon Butler Road beach and Onanda Beach closed due to algae concentrations in the beach area.  Kershaw beach was able to reopen due to continued absence of blooms in the beach area.   Watershed Manager Kevin Olvany collected 10 samples this afternoon from various areas around the lake to get a sense of overall algae levels as represented by total chlorophyll-a levels.  All samples were collected as a grab sample going from the surface down about 4 inches.  Samples were collected by boat and were both mid lake and near shore samples.  Dr. Bruce Gilman (FLCC) just completed the analysis and the results document that the algae levels are 2 to 3 times higher than what they normally are.  We ranged from 4.33ug/L to 10.72ug/L of chlorophyll-a.  It is important to point out that two samples were collected Thursday afternoon that had results of 21.19 and 31.23 ug/L of chlorophyll-a.  These samples were collected very close to shore in areas with obvious and substantial bloom conditions.  Bruce identified that microcystis was the overwhelmingly dominant algae in the lake.  Secchi disk measurements  (measures clarity) were consistently in the 3.0- 3.5 meter range at these sites and other sites around the lake. We typically average about 6-7 meters this time of year.

The County Health Department’s and our advisory is still active.  The concentrations of algae change substantially throughout the day for a variety of reasons.  Please use caution before entering the water and avoid water that looks green, has streaks of algae on the surface, looks like a blue/green or yellow film is on the surface and finally if there is a surface scum layer (please see image below). For additional information on the issues at hand, visit The Department of Health webpage, as well as the DEC webpage on Blue Green Algae.

If you come across algae that fits the above description, you can report it to the Watershed Manager, Kevin Olvany at (585) 747-8719. If you are a Secchi Disk volunteer with CLWA and are out on the lake this weekend, we would appreciate you forwarding your results as soon as you are able. Secchi Disk readings from many locations around the lake are extremely helpful in the ongoing monitoring of the health of the lake. Please make note any visual indicators of blue green algae in your data as well.

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Advisory: Blue Green Algae Observed on Canandaigua Lake

September 2, 2015 – Watershed Manager Kevin Olvany and Dr. Bruce Gilman of FLCC along with our citizen volunteers have been sampling and monitoring Canandaigua Lake and have identified a reduction in clarity from 6.4 meters to 3- 3.5 meters from Friday August 28th to Tuesday September 1st, along with an associated increase in algae. Observations included algae producing streaks along the surface. Two algae samples were collected by Kevin Olvany on Tuesday in the algae streak areas to compare to the results from Friday which ranged from 4-7 ug/L of chlorophyll levels (surrogate for algae levels) across 6 sampling locations throughout the lake. The two samples that were collected on Tuesday were in the northern portion of the lake in two areas with higher densities of algae observed from the boat- specifically surface streaks of algae. Samples were transported to the NY State sanctioned lab for algae analysis- State College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY ESF) in Syracuse to identify and quantify the concentration of algae in the two samples collected. The lab results were received on Wednesday evening and identified that the dominant algae is a blue-green algae- specifically microcystis. The lab was able to separate out the concentration of total chlorophyll and Blue Green chlorophyll. The first sample collected was in the middle of the lake about 1,000 feet south of the 5 mph buoy markers (about ½ mile from Kershaw Beach). The results were 15ug/L of total chlorophyll and 8ug/L of Blue Green chlorophyll levels. The second sample was also collected in the middle of the lake just north of the Yacht Club in another surface streak of algae and the results were more concerning. The total chlorophyll level was 46 ug/L and a blue green chlorophyll level of 39 ug/L, which exceeds the DEC bloom criteria of 25-30 ug/L. These samples are undergoing additional analysis to determine whether the algae is producing a toxin that can be harmful to humans and other animals. Those results should be available by Friday.

It is important to point out that concentrations of algae can vary significantly across the lake based on wind conditions and other variables. The samples were purposely collected in the areas that had higher concentrations to get a sense of plausible worst case scenario conditions where people would be in contact with the water. The Watershed Manager and Inspector made visual observations along both sides of the lakeshore today. The observations were showing that the southern half of the lake was much clearer than the northern half of the lake. The northeastern half of the lake seems to have the highest concentrations based on the prevailing southwesterly wind patterns. However, this can change rapidly. Additional samples were collected Wednesday along the east side of the lake based on higher concentrations visually observed.

The Watershed groups are working closely with the Department of Health and DEC to document the algae levels and to determine if the algae is considered to be a harmful to humans and animals. The goal of this advisory is to notify the public along with asking for observations over the next couple of weeks. Please contact Watershed Manager Kevin Olvany’s cell phone with any observations (585) 747-8719 or by e-mail: Kevin.Olvany@canandaiguanewyork.gov. Blue green algae (also known as cyanobacteria) are naturally occurring in lakes and ponds, though in certain conditions blooms can occur when algae multiply quickly in a short period of time – usually in warm, calm water. Many lakes are dealing with this issue and they have concentrations much higher than our lake. However, the surface streaking and the high blue green concentrations are not a common occurrence on this lake and needs to be taken seriously. At the same time, there are large sections of Canandaigua Lake that are in good shape. It is recommended that you use caution and common sense when entering the water. Be on the lookout for larger concentrations of algae and avoid contact with water that has streaks of algae, water that has a surface scum, looks like pea soup or green paint. Please exercise caution and avoid physical contact with these areas. Click here for more information regarding blue green algae.

Guidelines from the DEC Regarding Blue-Green Algae:

  • People, pets and livestock should avoid contact with water that is discolored or has scums on the surface. Colors can include shades of green, blue-green, yellow, brown or red. If contact does occur, wash with soap and water or rinse thoroughly with clean water to remove algae.
  • Stop using the water and seek medical attention if needed if symptoms such as vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, skin, eye or throat irritation, allergic reactions or breathing difficulties occur while in contact with untreated surface waters. However, swimming, bathing or showering with water not visibly affected by a blue-green algae bloom is not expected to cause health effects.
  • Because of their behavior, dogs are much more susceptible than humans to cyanobacterial poisoning. When toxins are present, dogs can be exposed to toxins by drinking the water, by eating washed up mats or scum of toxic cyanobacteria and by having skin contact with water. Dogs are often attracted to algal scum odors. After leaving the water, dogs can also be poisoned by grooming their fur and paws.

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CLWA submits public comment regarding Everwilde Rezoning application in South Bristol

View the letter from  August 18th, 2015:   Regarding the Rezoning Application of LAD Enterprises of Canandaigua, LLC for Everwilde Inn and Spa