Harmful Algal Bloom Observed - 9-9-22 - Village of Skaneateles 

 "Localized" Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) observed - Friday, September 9, 2022 at 10:45 AM at monitoring zone 3525 near Village of Skaneateles Docks

Dear SLA Membership and friends of Skaneateles Lake,


After receiving an alert from MidLakes Navigation & Citizen Scientists, Skaneateles Lake Association Staff, trained by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) in shoreline monitoring, recently observed a "Localized" Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) Friday, September 9, 2022 near Village Near Clifft Park at 10:45 aM.

  • More observations may have been submitted to DEC via NYHABS.

  • Bloom conditions could persist or change based on continuation of sunlight, high temperatures, and lack of wind.

  • The report of the small localized bloom is based on visual observations.  The City of Syracuse confirmed presence of Microcystis colonies that sometimes can produce toxins. City of Syracuse additionally conducts testing to determine if toxins are present in the municipal drinking water. If conditions in the municipal drinking water supply warrant a public health advisory, one will be issued by the Onondaga County Health Department. Information from NYSDEC and NYSDOH regarding further recommendations related to HABs can be found below. 

    To help and learn more about identifying HABs, please click HERE.

    After becoming familiar with what HABs look like, please click HERE to learn how you can take photos and report to NYSDEC your observations. 

    A map showing HABs recently reported in New York State including Skaneateles Lake can be accessed by clicking HERE

    Please share with the community. SLA will send more confirmed information along as it becomes available. 

    According to the NYSDEC:

    People, pets and livestock should avoid contact with any floating mats, scums, or discolored water. Colors can include shades of green, blue-green, yellow, brown or red.

    Never drink, prepare food, cook, or make ice with untreated surface water, whether or not algae blooms are present. In addition to toxins, untreated surface water may contain bacteria, parasites, or viruses that could cause illness if consumed.

    People not on public water supplies should not drink surface water during an algal bloom, even if it is treated, because in-home treatments such as boiling, disinfecting water with chlorine or ultraviolet (UV), and water filtration units do not protect people from HABs toxins.

    Blooms can change locations and dissipate rather quickly, so it is important to use your best judgement when deciding to use the water and to keep an eye out for new bloom locations. See pictures at the bottom of this email to identify HABs and refer to this website:

    Information according to NYSDEC regarding swimming can be found at:

    According to the New York State Department of Health:

    Exposure to any cyanobacteria HABs can cause health effects in people and animals when water with blooms is touched, swallowed, or when airborne droplets are inhaled. This is true regardless of toxin levels; some blue-green algae produce toxins, while others do not. Exposure to blooms and toxins can cause symptoms such as diarrhea, nausea or vomiting; skin, eye or throat irritation and allergic reactions or breathing difficulties. People and pets should avoid contact with blooms, and should rinse off with clean water if contact occurs.  For more information go to   
    Any questions or comments may be sent to
    Please refer to SLA's "Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) tab" on our website ( for updated information about Harmful Algal Blooms on our lake.

    The SLA Team

What do Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) look like?

HABs may look like parallel streaks, usually green, on the water surface.
HABs may look like green dots, clumps or globs on the water surface.
HABs may look like blue, green, or white spilled paint on the water surface.
HABs may make the water look bright green or like pea soup.

What do non-toxic green algal blooms look like?

  • Green algae can look like floating rafts on the water, but do not produce harmful toxins.
  • Green algae can look like bubbling scum on the water and may be entangled with other plant material, but do not produce harmful toxins.
  • Green algae can look silky, hairy or like wet fabric on the rocks, plants or water surface, but do not produce harmful toxins.
  • Green algae can look stringy or hairy or like a tumbleweed in the water or on the lake bottom, but do not produce harmful toxins.
  • Green algae can form thick mats on the water surface but do not produce harmful toxins.
  • Although duckweed can cover the water surface, it is not algae, and does not produce harmful toxins. It is a tiny aquatic plant with a grainy texture and looks like a miniature lilypad.
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