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Harmful Algae Blooms (HABs)

Harmful Algal Blooms, or HABs occur more frequently when nutrients (mainly phosphorus, nitrogen, and carbon) from sources such as lawns and farmlands flow downstream to the lake and build up at a rate that ‘overfeeds’ the algae that exist normally in the environment.

Prior to the initiation of the Jefferson Project, CLP had initiated worked with North Carolina State University to survey and sensor the lake.  CLP worked with BGSU (Bowling Green) to sample streams coming into Chautauqua Lake on a monthly basisduring 2020 and 2021.  In 2020, sampling started with seven streams and expanded to include all 16 major tributaries being sampled on a monthly basis.  In 2021, two sensors were placed in the lake at Camp Merz and Hadley Bay.  The sensor at Camp Merz was retrieved and the preliminary results indicated a lake phosphorus loading approximately 10 times higher than what was found at the creek mouths sampled in the North Basin.

These findings are generally consistent with the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) for Phosphorus in Chautauqua Lake November 2012 prepared by the CADMUS Group for the EPA and NYSDEC and the  Chautauqua Lake HABs Action Plan in 2018.

Starting in 2022 the CLP Phosophorus sensor equipment was loaned to the Jefferson project to help them quickly get underway.  A report summarizing their work to date can be found on the The Chautauqua Lake & Watershed Management Alliance  website.

Action plans from work done in 2022 and 2023 by the Jefferson Project have yet to be developed as of early 2024.

NYS DEC info on Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs)

Not all algae is harmful, please take a look at the DEC page to learn more.  However, if you see something suspisious similar to the illustrations here, you are encouraged to report it to the DEC

Suspicious algal blooom report form

You may also call the CLA to report at:  716-763-8602