By Michael Virtanen
Lake Champlain’s Port Henry Beach in the eastern Adirondacks has reopened to swimming after it was closed for a week because of harmful algae blooms.
Reports from state and regional authorities showed it first closed last Thursday.
The Lake Champlain Committee also had posted a high alert for the potentially toxic cyanobacteria, which can form on lake surfaces under certain conditions, at Roche State Park Beach, farther north on Champlain in Clinton County’s Beekmantown. That beach also was reopened to swimming this week.
The committee posts weekly algae reports at https://us10.campaign-archive.com/?u=f505142e4184a730eff7799ce&id=583e26e603 with an online link to data updates. It shows Port Henry Beach and Bulwagga Bay at Port Henry both with high alerts last week for algae blooms. Both were reported generally safe in updates on Wednesday.
“Blooms popped up at several locations up and down Lake Champlain … Blooms were observed on Main Lake South, Main Lake Central, the Inland Sea, St. Albans Bay and Missisquoi Bay,” the committee said of last week’s conditions.
“Hot, still weather is ideal for cyanobacteria so please be mindful of changing conditions and keep a careful watch on the water,” the committee said.
Rain fell across much of the state this week.
Beachgoers also can call individual state beaches in advance to check. Blooms can quickly dissipate.
New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation separately reported on Monday 45 other waterways that have had suspected or laboratory-confirmed harmful algae blooms.
Only one was in the North Country on Black Lake in St. Lawrence County.
The DEC report is posted online at http://www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/83310.html
Lake George’s popular Million Dollar Beach, which had closed to swimming one day in June because of a high coliform bacteria count, was open Thursday morning despite rain. The sound of thunder can close a public beach or pool.
Anyone wishing to check to be sure there’s no problem getting into the water there can call (518) 668-3352. Other information on the beach at the southern end of Lake George is online at https://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/113215.html
New York environmental authorities and stakeholders earlier this year issued detailed plans for preventing harmful algae blooms on Lake Champlain and Lake George, which are among a dozen priority waterways statewide.
The Cuomo administration has promised $65 million for the effort to rid New York lakes of the blooms, also called blue-green algae, that consist generally of visible surface patches of cyanobacteria. They have been a particular problem in the Finger Lakes.
Naturally present in low numbers in most freshwater systems, their rapid growth is fueled by warm temperatures and high levels of organic nutrients, which include fertilizer and sewage.
Some cyanobacteria types produce toxins harmful to people and animals that swallow or inhale the bacteria or come into contact with them through skin. State health officials recommend avoiding contact with all types.
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