On YouTube: Keeping The Algae At Bay In Sodus
NYSG Research - News

Sodus Point, NY, June 7, 2012 - As reported by WHAM Channel 13 News, a Rochester-based ABC-affiliate station, the water in Sodus Bay was clear last month, but organizations (including New York Sea Grant) and residents in attendance at a local meeting were already planning for how it could look in late summer.

A low water level and warm spring remind Save Our Sodus President Ed Leroux of 2010, when blue-green algal blooms covered portions of the bay. "Low water (and) higher temperatures are (the kinds of conditions) that make the risk greater for the bloom to occur," said Leroux.

Blue-green algae's technical name is cyanobacteria; it can form toxins poisonous to humans or animals, according to the New York State Department of Health.

The algae presence in 2010 was enough to keep wind-surfer Patrick Verbridge away from his beloved bay. "It was a little intimidating," said Verbridge.

In an effort to explain the algae, what creates it, and how to monitor and remove it, Save Our Sodus hosted a seminar late last month that featured scientists who have been studying the problem.

"We know we have too much nutrients in the water. The question, how much do you need to decrease it," said Dr. Greg Boyer, Director of the Great Lakes Research Consortium and a researcher at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY ESF) in Syracuse.

In August 2010, Sodus Bay, Lake Ontario, suffered from algal bloom (Microcystis sp.). Now, with New York Sea Grant (NYSG) funding, a team led by SUNY ESF's Boyer and Joseph Atkinson form the University at Buffalo, is developing a model to provide better understanding of the nutrient and algal dynamics of Sodus Bay.

As discused at the meeting held by Save Our Sodus, treatment options are being explored. One of them includes using hydrogen peroxide.

Most in Sodus agree that preservation of the bay is among their top priorities. "Every summer if this bay is known for getting a bloom, I'll probably look for a different place to live," said Verbridge.

As for Boyer's currently-funded NYSG research project, NYSG Extension Director Dr. Katherine Bunting-Howarth says, "What we learn from this project on Sodus Bay should lead to valuable information for use by shoreline communities throughout the Great Lakes region." For more on this project, see NYSG's related news item from late April 2012, "NYSG funds Lake Ontario algal bloom research on Sodus Bay."

New York Sea Grant, a cooperative program of Cornell University and the State University of New York, is one of 32 university-based programs under the National Sea Grant College Program (NSGCP) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The NSGCP engages this network of the nation’s top universities in conducting scientific research, education, training and extension projects designed to foster science-based decisions about the use and conservation of our aquatic resources. Through its statewide network of integrated services, NYSG has been promoting coastal vitality, environmental sustainability, and citizen awareness about the State’s marine and Great Lakes resources since 1971.

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