DEC ANNOUNCES START OF 2022 ‘NYHABS’ ONLINE NOTIFICATION AND REPORTING SYSTEM FOR HARMFUL ALGAE BLOOMS – Oswego County Today
An interactive map displays bloom locations and an informative website encourages New Yorkers to ‘know it, avoid it, report it’
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the New York State Department of Health (DOH) today reminded New Yorkers to educate themselves and be aware of harmful algal blooms, or “HABs,” as the 2022 HAB reporting season begins. With resources such as the online HAB Map and Notification System, New York is a national leader in supporting initiatives to respond to HABs quickly and effectively across the state.
“We encourage New Yorkers to be on the lookout for HABs and report any sightings to DEC,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. “DEC and DOH experts will continue to work closely with local partners to investigate HABs, make significant investments to prevent excess nutrients and other contaminants from affecting water quality, and monitor potential threats to health or recreational use of water bodies.”
“As we enter the warmer months, New Yorkers should be aware that the primary exposure to harmful algal blooms is through recreational contact. Beaches in New York State close swimming areas when suspicious blooms are sighted and New York State public drinking water supplies have effective protocols and treatment for HABs and toxins,” the New York State Health Commissioner said. , Dr. Mary T. Bassett “The risks are easy to avoid by staying away from discolored waters, blooms and scum and recreating in areas where the water is clear. People should always flush if they have been in contact with a flower and seek veterinary care immediately if they notice any symptoms in your pets if they have consumed flower material or come into contact with flowers.
The New York Harmful Algal Bloom Reporting System, “NYHABS,” became active today and allows the public and trained citizens to submit HAB reports to DEC electronically through a simple, easy-to-use, user-friendly form for Cellphones. These reports, once evaluated by the DEC and DOH, are posted on the NYHABS page. The system features an interactive map of current and archived bloom locations to help keep New Yorkers informed.
HABs have been closely monitored in New York State since 2012. To address HABs, DEC works with the DOH, State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, and other state and local partners to lead the program most comprehensive HAB monitoring and reporting system in the nation. Hundreds of bodies of water are monitored each year by the DEC, DOH, state parks, academic institutions, and volunteer monitoring partnerships. Additional public health protections are provided by DOH monitoring of regulated beaches and public water systems.
When it comes to HABs, DEC encourages New Yorkers to “KNOW IT, AVOID, REPORT.” KNOW THIS – HABs vary in appearance, from scattered green dots in water to long linear green streaks, from pea soup or spilled green paint, to blue-green or white coloration. AVOID – People, pets and livestock should avoid contact with water that is discolored or has algal scum on the surface. REPORT IT – If members of the public suspect a HAB, report it through NYHAB’s online reporting form available on the DEC website. Symptoms or health issues related to HABs should be reported to the DOH at [email protected]
Although the exact cause of HABs is not fully understood, HABs generally occur in waters high in phosphorus and/or nitrogen. New York State has many programs and activities aimed at reducing the entry of phosphorus and nitrogen into the water from surrounding lands, including stormwater permitting programs, funding for water improvement projects, water quality and a nutrient law that limits the use of phosphorus fertilizers for lawns. DEC also continues to evaluate HAB mitigation technology and strategies.
For more information on HABs, including bloom notifications, which are updated daily through the fall, visit the DEC’s Harmful Algal Blooms webpage. The HABs program guide, which includes information and links to resources regarding the prevention, management and control of blooms, can also be downloaded from the DEC website. Click here for DOH public health information.