Saturday, June 2, 2018

Help with Algae Bloom experimental project? (East side land owners)


Can We Inhibit the HABs this Season?
Ed Wagner, Chairman, Owasco Lake Water Quality Management Council
Ken Kudla, President, Owasco Watershed Lake Association
In just a few months, Owasco Lake will likely experience yet another outbreak of Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs). Whether you live on the shore of the Lake, drive by it, like to swim in it, picnic by it, boat on it, drink its water, or just live in the region, our lives, our jobs, and our economic well-being are directly influenced by the health or ill-health of this Finger Lake.
Sometimes called blue-green algae, HABs are not algae at all, but instead are a common form of bacteria that come into dominance because our Lake has too much phosphorus and nitrogen. These bacteria during the hot, calm days of August into October proliferate, turning our Lake into an ugly, keep-away green. Even worse, as the bacteria die they often release poisons that can have very serious health effects. Scientists around the world are working hard to come up with solutions. About the only fix now known is to greatly reduce the phosphorus and nitrogen getting into the lake.
However, the bacteria have a weakness. They like calm, clear, warm water. There is an early body of research that suggests that perhaps we can inhibit their normal pattern by mixing up the water column; i.e., make it more turbulent and less calm.
This year the Owasco Lake Water Quality Management Council in association with OWLA, the Finger Lakes Institute and the NYS DEC are working together to identify, research and test a number of possible technologies directed a minimizing HAB outbreaks.
Current plans are to secure a quantity of two types of water mixers. One type will be for lakeshore sites that have a depth of 15 to 20 feet within 75 feet of the shore line. The other type is for more shallow, near shore locations. This type typically mounts under a dock. It is the same mixer as is used to prevent ice from forming around a dock or boat lift.
The mixer for deeper water installation is called an Airmax PS-20 and costs about $2500. The under dock mounted shallow water mixer is a Kasco submersible mixer and costs approximately $1,000.
We are looking for property owners who live on the east side of the lake who are willing to try these mixing devices. What is needed from the property owners is:
·         An outdoor, grounded electrical outlet must be near your shore.
·         You will install and operate the device
·         Monitor the device, pay for the electricity used, and support the research by taking daily photos, upload the photos to a secure shared drive and perhaps take a number of water samples throughout the few months of the project
·         Remove and store the device at the end of the HAB season
At the end of the year all research will be evaluated and the results shared with the participating home owners. Any property owners who have benefited from the technology will be given the choice to:
·        Reimburse OWLA for 25% of the mixer's cost and then they will keep the technology.
·        Owners who did not benefit from the technology will pay nothing and simply return the technology to OWLA.
This project is first come, first served while the quantity of mixers we buy lasts.
If you live on the east shore of Owasco Lake and wish to participate in this research project please attend the June 6th OWLA Meeting at Springside Inn beginning at 7:00 PM. Any questions will be answered then and participating home owners will be identified.
Thank you,
Ed Wagner
Chairman, Owasco Lake Water Quality Management Council
Ken Kudla
President, Owasco Watershed Lake Association
June 1, 2018

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