New York’s Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) Initiative seeks to mitigate the threat of HABs to sources of drinking water in upstate New York through regional collaboration, advanced monitoring pilot projects,  and the development and implementation of community-specific action plans.  $65 million was pledged to advance the objectives of the HABs Initiative.

Skaneateles Lake monitoring station

Skaneateles Lake monitoring buoy (United States Geological Survey)

  • The initiative has four main components: convening regional summits with agency representatives, stakeholders, and national water quality/HAB experts; developing Action Plans and providing nearly $60 million in grant funding for implementation; in-lake mitigation pilot projects; and, conducting advanced research and monitoring.
  • 12 priority lakes were identified, including five Finger Lakes in the Lake Ontario watershed (Conesus, Honeoye, Cayuga, Owasco, and Skaneateles Lakes).
  • Researchers deployed advanced monitoring stations to nearshore and offshore sites on Skaneateles Lake, Owasco Lake, and Seneca Lake, which provide real-time water-quality information (shown on map below) that contributes to the understanding of HABs development, duration, and effects on water quality.

Real-time data from four water quality monitoring sites is available to track the impacts of nutrients and HABs. The buoys are brought in for the winter and re-deployed in spring, but you can always explore historic data during the offseason (United States Geological Survey and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation). Learn more about this research and other endeavors at the USGS New York Water Center website