Blue-Green Algae

UTICA (WUTR)--- Although there have not been any reports of Blue-Green Algae in Central New York lakes this year, the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is fearful that our wet spring followed by hot days has the potential for algae blooms to explode.

"What most people call blue-green algae is actually cyanobacteria, which is not an algae at all," explained  Bobbi Kahl, Senior Sanitarian at the Oneida County Health Department.

The toxic bacteria, which is blue-green in color, has been found in Central New York lakes in recent years. Now that the weather is getting warmer,  Both the DEC and the Oneida County Health Department said it is important to keep an eye out for it.

"That algae can also take up all the nutrients that are in the water and can smother out some of the other life forms by lowering the dissolved oxygen," said Kahl. "So the fish might die because there is no more dissolved oxygen for them to breathe, and the visibility in the water is very low. So it will be hard for them to find their food."

Not only can it be detrimental to aquatic life, but it can also be harmful to people.

"Symptoms that might result from it touching your skin or ingesting that water could be, vomiting, skin, eye, or throat irritations, allergic reactions, or breathing difficulties," listed Kahl.
A person who does experience these symptoms are urged to see a doctor. To protect yourself, avoid swimming in water that has Blue-Green Algae and always rinse off with clean water after swimming in lakes. The same goes for our pets.
'If your dog is drinking that water, then she gets out of that water, she might have algae on her fur," said Kahl. "later on if she is cleaning herself, she is ingesting that water. It can be very harmful to pets."
Scott Kishbaugh, Chief of Lake Monitoring for the DEC urges Central New Yorkers to report signings of Blue-Green Algae to the DEC as well as the county health department. 


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