Lakewood, NY — The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is collaborating with the US Army Corps of Engineers’ Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) to implement a demonstration project that will remove algae from Chautauqua Lake and help mitigate future HABs (Harmful Algal Blooms).
AECOM, “the world’s premier infrastructure firm” according to its website, has been contracted to manage the demonstration project. AECOM has also been piloting similar demonstration projects at Lake Agawam in New York and at sites in Florida.
The Chautauqua Lake Association (CLA) headquarters facility in Lakewood will serve as the host site for the demonstration project. The CLA facility is situated on the shoreline of the lake’s south basin, which experiences the greatest prevalence of HABs.
AECOM equipment will be arriving this week with in-lake operations scheduled to commence August 24, 2020.
CLA Executive Director Douglas Conroe said, “We welcome having the opportunity to assist with this innovative project. It fits perfectly into our role of investigating and performing multi-faceted adaptive lake management.”
The CLA is deeply involved with HAB programs. Its volunteers collect HAB samples for the DEC/ NYSFOLA (New York State Federation of Lakes Association) HAB analysis program, and, since 2013, CLA Director Conroe has collaborated with SUNY ESF’s (State University of NY College of Environmental Science and Forestry) HAB monitoring and analysis program.
In support of SUNY ESF’s participation with the Bowling Green State University’s algal analysis program, CLA also collects algal samples from across Chautauqua Lake to aid development of a new instrument that will provide improved algal analysis data.
The CLA also inputs the DEC NYHABS website that provides information to the public about the actual locations of known HABs on Chautauqua Lake along with providing HAB information to the Chautauqua County Department of Health and Human Services.
Conroe added, “The fact that AECOM is committed to providing an environmentally safe method is especially encouraging. No chemicals will be placed in the lake by the project and the removed algae will be recycled for productive use. We thank the Governor for designating Chautauqua Lake as one of twelve NYS lakes to receive a special focus that will hopefully in the end provide solutions for all NYS lakes.”
Learn to identify a HAB
You can learn how to identify HABs with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s Photo Gallery at https://www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/81962.html.
According to the Chautauqua County Health and Human Services website, HABs present a public health risk to people and pets. Christine Schuyler, Chautauqua County Director of Health and Human Services, says, “Not all blooms are hazardous, but the Health Department recommends taking the following precautions:
When swimming, wading, or boating, avoid areas with blooms or surface scums, or water that is noticeably discolored. This applies to everyone – adults, children, and animals.
Don’t fish or eat fish caught from areas with blooms or surface scums, or water that is noticeably discolored.
Pay attention to beach closures, advisory signs, press releases, and websites. Never swim at beaches that are closed.
Never drink, prepare food, cook, or make ice with untreated surface water, bloom or no bloom.”