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Canandaigua Lake Watershed Association gives update on HABs: Plus, recap from water chestnut pull (video)

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  • Staff Report 

The Canandaigua Lake Watershed Association (CLWA) gave a promising water quality update for Canandaigua Lake on Friday, July 28, with no harmful algal blooms reported and an average Secchi disk water clarity of 6.0 meters.

According to the report, this positive assessment was made following 62 reports from volunteers who monitor water conditions around the lakeshore. Additionally, the average surface water temperature was marked at 76.5°F and the lake level was measured at 688.3 feet above sea level.


The association warned about the prevalence of duckweed in the lake, which can often be mistaken for harmful algal blooms due to its bright green color. Duckweed is a naturally occurring, non-toxic plant and has been dispersed widely due to recent rains. Volunteers are continuing to monitor the lake for any suspicious bloom activity and have so far found none.

On a related note, CLWA in conjunction with the Finger Lakes Institute recently conducted a volunteer operation to remove the invasive water chestnut species from the West River. This aquatic plant can form dense mats that block sunlight, reduce oxygen levels, outcompete native species, and impede recreational activities.

The group found a significant reduction in water chestnut plants this year compared to last year, indicating that annual removal efforts have been effective. The amount of water chestnut pulled was only about 10 plants this year, compared to 49 lbs in the previous year.

However, a new invasive species, European frog-bit, was discovered during the 2022 paddle, which has been spreading in the area. Like water chestnut, it too forms dense mats that limit light penetration and inhibit recreational activities. CLWA is closely working with the Finger Lakes Institute and Finger Lakes PRISM to monitor and manage this new threat.

The report ended with a reminder to the public about Cyanobacteria, commonly referred to as blue-green algae, which while mostly harmless, can produce toxic compounds in dense concentrations. The public is advised to avoid water contact when blooms are observed and report any potential blooms for further investigation.

Quick HABs visual breakdown: What do they look like?

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