NYSDEC Says Algae Sightings Were HABs But Not Toxic

November 10, 2022

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has determined that two “small, localized” harmful algal blooms occurred on Lake George on Oct. 26, according to the department’s online tracking system.

One of the suspicious concentrations of cyanobacteria, along the shoreline in Basin Bay, was reported to DEC by the LGA and one of our volunteer AlgaeWatchers. The second HAB identified by DEC was located in Bolton Bay, based on the Department’s maps. DEC records indicate that neither of these algae aggregations were producing toxins.

DEC is responsible for determining whether a concentration of cyanobacteria qualifies as a HAB. A cyanobacteria bloom can be classified as a HAB if it meets certain DEC criteria and creates conditions potentially harmful to aquatic ecosystems and organisms. In some cases, cyanobacteria blooms can produce toxins and be of danger to humans and pets. None of the Lake George algae aggregations that have been classified by DEC as HABs have been determined to be toxic.

Out of an abundance of caution, the LGA advises people to avoid recreating in areas near a suspicious concentration of algae until DEC determines whether or not it is a HAB, and to always avoid drinking untreated water from the Lake.

We encourage everyone who lives or works on  Lake George, or spends considerable time there, to sign up as an LGA AlgaeWatcher today and keep an eye out for suspicious blooms or accumulations of algae. Calm, sunny, and unseasonably warm conditions are prime for the formation of cyanobacteria, which look like small green specks or pollen streaking in the water, typically along the shoreline. Please use this link to NYSDEC's HAB library to familiarize yourself with what a HAB can look like and help us protect Lake George today.