Chautauqua Lake was added Thursday to the list of bodies of water that have been afflicted by toxic blue-green algae, the state Department of Environmental Conservation noted in its weekly update.
The exact location of the bloom was not identified in the report, however. The DEC reported it was confirmed by a laboratory sample as a “small, localized” bloom taken from the lake Monday.
It’s not unusual for blue-green algae to strike the large inland lake.
The blue-green algae, which is often associated with cyanobacteria – a toxin that can be harmful to humans and pets – bloomed last year and in several other years in the lake, often triggering warnings from the Chautauqua County Health Department.
No formal Health Department notices were reported Thursday.
The DEC report added that blooms in large lakes such as Chautauqua “may be limited to shorelines or confined bays,” and portions of the lakes “may be clear and fully support recreational uses.”
That’s good news for the many who are expected to head to Chautauqua Lake for the weekend’s Fourth of July celebrations.
Still, swimmers and boaters on the lake are urged to be cautious and avoid areas where the water is discolored – especially if it looks like spilled paint or pea soup, which are typically tell-tale signs of blue-green algae.
If a bloom is encountered or suspected, reports can be made online to the DEC by submitting the “Suspicious Algae Bloom Report Form” at the following address: http://www.dec.ny.gov/docs/water_pdf/algaereportform.pdf.
Chautauqua is the only regional lake on the DEC’s blue-green algae list for this week. An earlier DEC notice included Lime Lake in Cattaraugus County. However, Lime Lake does not appear on the latest list.
In all, there are 16 bodies of water on the list – the majority located downstate and on Long Island.
No toxic algal blooms have been reported this year on Lake Erie.