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DEC and DOH issue reminder for residents to stay vigilant as HABs season begins in Finger Lakes

  • / Updated:
  • Staff Report 

The New York State Departments of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Health (DOH) have issued a reminder for New Yorkers to remain vigilant about harmful algal blooms (HABs) as the 2023 reporting season commences.

Finger Lakes Partners (Billboard)

The DEC’s New York Harmful Algal Bloom System (NYHABS), a user-friendly, mobile-enabled platform, is now active and enables citizens to report HABs electronically. DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos has urged New Yorkers to report any HAB sightings as they pose potential public health risks, while Acting State Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald has emphasized their toxic effects on humans and animals.

After evaluation by DEC and DOH, these reports are posted on the NYHABS page, featuring an interactive map of current and archived bloom locations. With the support of DOH and other state and local partners, DEC leads the nation’s most comprehensive HABs monitoring and reporting program.

DiSanto Propane (Billboard)

Over the past decade, HABs have been closely monitored in New York State, and an analysis published by the DEC’s Division of Water suggests increased public awareness has led to a rise in confirmed HABs since 2012. To mitigate HAB occurrence, New York has implemented various programs and initiatives targeting phosphorus and nitrogen pollution, and has allocated over $371 million in grants to reduce the frequency of algal blooms. New Yorkers are advised to “KNOW IT, AVOID IT, REPORT IT” when it comes to HABs.