If you're headed to Oneida Lake for a break from the heat, you may notice it's pretty scummy. The blue-green algae blooms that cover the lake have formed earlier than usual. Our Katie Gibas tells us why and what you can do to safely enjoy the water.
ONEIDA LAKE, N.Y. -- It finally feels like summer. This hot, humid weather is a boater's dream. But something the weather brought with it to Oneida Lake, is not.
"We have more inflow of water from the streams, which increases the phosphorus content of the lake, so the nutrients in the lake. We get algae blooms. And we've had algae blooms earlier this year then we normally have,” said Lars Rudstam, Cornell Biological Field Station Director.
Lars Rudstam is the director of the Cornell Biological Field Station in Bridgeport.
He and his team monitor and study various aspects of Oneida Lake, including its fish, plants, and nutrients.
"This is a hydrolab. We use it to measure different things in the water: oxygen content, chlorophyll content, depth, temperature and we do every meter all the way down to the bottom,” said Jeff Rossi, Cornell University Biology Major.
This year, there are more blue-green algae blooms earlier than normal. The rain and hot weather combined for a perfect storm for algae. But with the increased algae comes some health concerns.
"The e. coli is the other concern. We get more bacteria problems when you have large amounts of overflow in rivers,” said Rudstam.
The problem has been so bad this year, that several beaches closed a number of times because of high bacteria counts.
"If there is a beach closing, there's a reason for that. They probably should not swim when the beach is closed. Don't drink the water when the beach is closed,” said Rudstam.
If you head out on the boat, try to find clear patches, without algae to swim in.