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> EH>Water>Blue-green Algae

Blue-Green Algae (Cyanobacteria)
Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs)

HABs 2020 Status for Beaches & Waterways (local & NYS)

Screenshot of the CSI HABs map for Cayuga LakeCurrent status of all Cayuga Lake beaches
(map from Community Science Institute)
Screenshot of a PDF page of textNYS Parks:
Current Beach Status
  (PDF download from NYS Parks. Scroll to Finger Lakes section.) 
HABs Notification Page
Map of current freshwater HABs in NYS.

Photo: Finger Lakes Land Trust, Cayuga Lake 2017-08-02-1600hr
Photo: Cayuga Lake (Finger Lakes Land Trust)

(July 2020) — Bluegreen Algae Blooms, also known as HABs (Harmful Algal Blooms) have been observed at various locations in Cayuga Lake, including in Tompkins County, during the summers since 2017. The situation is being monitored by regular observation patrols along the shoreline by many trained volunteer observers.

If you are planning to host a water event, please contact TCHD Environmental Health for guidance: (607) 274-6688. Beaches may be closed due to the presence of HABs. Please contact individual facilities directly for more information. There is no concern with municipal water supplies at this time. In the unlikely event that a public water supply is affected by HABs, the TCHD will work with the water supply to evaluate the situation and provide notice to affected users.

The Health Department is advising individuals that they should be aware of the possibility of HABs and know how to identify and report blooms they might discover.

  1. Know It
    • If water appears discolored or has an unpleasant odor, do not drink the water and avoid contact with it.
    • To identify harmful and non-harmful algae blooms click here for a photo gallery.
  2. Avoid It
    • If contact occurs with suspicious blue-green algae, rinse thoroughly with clean water to remove algae. For dogs that may have gone in the water, prompt action is particularly important to prevent them from ingesting matter that sticks to their fur.
    • If you are not on a public water supply, be aware that water treatment such as Ultraviolet (UV), boiling, or chlorinating will not make your water safe for use.
    • Never drink, prepare foods, make ice, or cook with untreated surface water – whether or not a bloom is present.
    • For current status of NYS Parks beaches and swimming sites, Click Here (PDF download from NYS Parks).
  3. Report It


    • NYS Dept of Health site
    • NYS Dept of Environmental Conservation HABs page.
    • Cyanobacteria (EPA website)
    • HAB Awareness Poster (Letter-size PDF)

Image of HABs

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