Water Quality Update for July 16, 2021

  • Water Quality Update for 7/16/21
  • PhD Student Launches Artificial Substrate Project on Canandaigua Lake this Summer
  • Calling all Divers: Kershaw Kleanup on 8/2

Water Quality Update

As no news is often good news, we are happy to report that there were no blooms observed by volunteers or watershed staff this week. 

With help from our friends at Seneca Lake Pure Waters, we are pleased to announce that the 2021 interactive HABs map is now live on the CLWA website and can be found on our Shoreline Monitoring page. This map provides real time information from volunteer monitors as soon as they upload a bloom report. Visitors to the page can click on the red dots to pull up information submitted, including the date bloom was reported, location,  bloom extent, description, as well as photos. Please note that this map serves as a record of the blooms that have been reported over the previous 2 weeks. Water quality conditions can change daily, if not hourly. 

As we move into late July, please continue to use your visual indicators to look for signs of active bloom conditions. As recommended by the DEC, if you see it, avoid it.

Volunteers and watershed staff will be continuing daily observations throughout July, August and September and we will communicate any significant changes in bloom activity through our weekly email updates, on our website, and on our facebook page. To report suspicious blooms, use HABS@canandaigualakeassoc.org.

Enjoy your weekend!


PhD Student Launches Artificial Substrate Project on Canandaigua Lake this Summer
With Information provided by Abby Webster, PhD student at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry 

Abby Webster is a first-year PhD student at SUNY ESF studying harmful algal blooms in the Finger Lakes. This summer, she has joined the team at the Finger Lakes Institute in Geneva, where she is designing an artificial substrate to deploy in lakes with hopes of capturing benthic (or attached) cyanobacteria. While we are most familiar with planktonic or surface water harmful algal blooms in the Finger Lakes, we know benthic algae also grows here. There are many unknowns to benthic cyanobacteria, such as when they grow and what toxins they produce that may be harmful to us like their planktonic counterparts. The artificial substrate she is deploying will serve as a monitoring tool throughout the summer to quantify and characterize the benthic cyanobacterial growth and look to answer these questions.

The artificial substrate is composed mainly of small ceramic tiles (6 x 6″), 24″ PVC, and paracord. The design stands vertically in the water column – attached to an anchor on the bottom and a buoy at the surface. See attached image of design drawing for reference.

Abby has deployed three of these artificial substrate racks on the east side of Canandaigua Lake near Cottage City, with permission from friendly lake residents and CLWA Members  Andrea Odenbach, Tom Vecchi, and Sally Napolitano. Sally serves as a CLWA Board Member and Citizen Science Committee Chairperson, and has helped coordinate with FLI on several research projects over the last few summers. CLWA is grateful for our member’s assistance to help move this important science forward! 

In addition to using the artificial substrate to better understand benthic growth throughout the summer season, the team plans to submit both biofilm and water samples for genetic characterization to Cornell University. To pair with genetic data, toxin analysis will also be performed through Dr. Greg Boyer’s lab at SUNY ESF, testing for several cyanotoxins including microcystin and anatoxins. Another aspect of this work will be performing pigment extraction on the attached biofilms and surrounding water to compare with our sonde data that will be deployed at Sally’s dock. The sonde measures the pigment phycocyanin, which gives cyanobacteria its blue-green appearance. Laboratory methods will be used to extract the phycocyanin (in-vitro) and analyze its concentration using a fluorometer, to which they will compare the concentration measured by the in-situ sonde. There is also a pigment phycoerythrin, which is produced under low-light conditions, so we wonder if it may be a more appropriate measure for benthic cyanobacteria monitoring.The team is investigating if they can detect differences in phycocyanin and phycoerythrin concentrations between water and attached biofilm, as well as near-surface and near-bottom artificial substrate.


Calling All Divers: Kershaw Kleanup on August 1, 2021