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Innovative project on Seneca Lake to study toxic algae

The health of the Finger Lakes may be in jeopardy as toxic algae are becoming more of a problem during the summer months. This year DEC and USGS scientists are using some of the most advanced technology in the country to track when this potentially deadly algae shows up.

The focus is on Seneca, Owasco, and Skaneateles Lake harmful algal blooms – now found on every Finger Lake and impacting human health. Jennifer Graham has been studying these for 20 years and expects the problem to get worse. “We are talking about the organisms that are microscopic that you usually don’t see with the naked eye,” said Graham.

This is all part of a $65 million state initiative to fight blue-green algae that is tough to track. “Some blooms are toxic; some are not and the only way to differentiate right now is by actually measuring it.” This requires taking it to a lab that can take several days.
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