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Harmful Algal Blooms

By July 28, 2020March 22nd, 2024HABs, News - CLP

As mentioned before, the CLP and Bowling Green State University (BGSU) have been working together to try to source the cause of the algae and determine if something can be done to mitigate it. The BGSU team has identified that a bacteria is contributing to the generation of the current algae. Addressing the bacteria and the HABs will be an ongoing part of the study.
In addition, The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) have announced collaborative pilot study designed to reduce the impact of harmful algal blooms (HABs) in Chautauqua Lake. The pilot study will use innovative equipment to skim HABs from the lake and convert the material into usable bio-energy and fertilizer.
“The HABITATS research project is developing a capability to remove and efficiently dispose of large quantities of algal biomass, and entrained nutrients, which may someday help protect ecosystems and communities from HAB events,” said Dr. Martin Page, material engineer at the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center’s Construction Engineering Research Laboratory and HABITATS project manager. “By recovering resources in the process, the positive environmental impacts are achieved with reduced operations costs and footprint. Those aspects are key to developing a truly scalable tool that can be used by stakeholders as part of a broader strategy to mitigate HABs.”
For several years, Chautauqua Lake has been impacted by large, persistent algal blooms during the late summer months. Part of New York’s nation-leading HABs Initiative, in 2018, Chautauqua Lake was listed by Governor Cuomo as one of 12 priority lakes and action plans were developed to address the causes of each lake’s blooms. Chautauqua Lake offers a unique opportunity to study short-term methods for mitigating the physical presence of large HABs, while the HABs Action Plan and other state initiatives address the factors that contribute to HABs to improve the health of the lake.
The USACE’s Engineer Research and Development Center is deploying its innovative research demonstration project – named Harmful Algal Bloom Interception, Treatment and Transformation System (HABITATS) – in portions of the southern half of Chautauqua Lake later this year. The pilot project uses floating skimmers on the lake to collect surface water laden with HABs. Once collected, the blooms are put through shore-based or mobile treatment processes, which detoxify the algae, concentrate it, and convert it into biocrude fuel and fertilizer. During the process, treated water is cleaned, clarified, and safely returned to the lake. For additional information, visit USACE’s website.