GENESEO — Recent concern over blue-green algae in Conesus Lake became a topic of discussion at the special Geneseo Town Board meeting that was held at Long Point Park on Thursday.
Blue-green algae is a naturally occurring part of the Conesus Lake ecosystem, though when found in high concentration, these tiny, floating organisms may pose a risk to lake residents.
Cathy Higgins, inspector for the Conesus Lake Watershed, refers to these highly concentrated clouds of algae as “blooms.” Blooms usually form in warm, shallow waters and have often been linked with drastic weather patterns. They tend to gather along the shoreline, particularly on the east side of Conesus, though sightings have been reported in areas all over the lake. Due to the sometimes-toxic nature of the blooms, the Conesus Lake Watershed Council strives to increase community awareness about the problem.
“When Blue-green algae collects into a bloom, it looks as though someone spilled a can of green paint into the water; we encourage all residents to become spotters and learn how to identify the algae,” said Higgins.
Contact with blue-green algae through swimming, inhalation, or swallowing may lead to health problems for both humans and animals. Possible symptoms associated with algae exposure include skin, eye, or throat irritation and respiratory problems.
The Watershed Council is currently taking careful measures to prevent and reduce risks associated with blue-green algae, such as closely monitoring local beaches and frequently testing water quality.
“It’s important to get the word out as much as we can,” urged Cathy Higgins, as she distributed informative pamphlets on algae to board meeting attendees.
Higgins also suggests the Conesus Lake Association as a helpful and informative resource for residents. She stresses the value of community education and involvement, in supplement to the Watershed Council’s efforts, to ensure a safer Conesus Lake.
For more information concerning blue-green algae, visit: http://livingstoncounty.us/planning.htm