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Harmful Algal Blooms

Surface water quality for both drinking and recreation can be severely impacted by harmful algal blooms (HAB), which have been increasing in occurrence and toxicity since 2012. Several factors contributing to increased HAB occurrence have been documented, including nutrient pollution and climate change. Nutrient reduction strategies have been identified as the most effective approach for reducing HABs in NY. WRI is working to research factors contributing to HAB occurrence, watershed nutrient control strategies, and in-waterbody HAB control options in order to prevent and manage HABs in NY’s lakes and rivers. 

Research Goals

  • Evaluate the effectiveness of watershed nutrient control strategies/ BMPs for preventing or mitigating HABs
  • What is the efficacy and feasibility of available in-waterbody HAB control methods?
  • How do amounts and forms of nitrogen and phosphorous influence HAB occurrence, severity, toxicity, and duration?
  • What environmental conditions lead to HABs outbreaks in the Finger Lakes?
  • Development of methodologies for detecting and treating HAB related toxins in the drinking water treatment process

Outreach Goals

  • Continue to serve as an information resource on HABS for the public by staying updated on latest HABS research/news and directing inquiries to primary literature and researchers.
  • Look for opportunities for staff to support and build on existing HABS outreach efforts in New York

Diversity Equity Inclusion/ Environmental Justice

  • Outreach about HABs must be created and delivered for diverse audiences
  • Rural environmental justice, are rural areas with lower incomes and resources facing burden of HABS mitigation and nutrient reduction?

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