MAYVILLE – Harmful algal blooms are continuing to plague Chautauqua Lake as we head into the final few weeks of the summer season.
On Friday the Public Health Division of the Chautauqua County Department of Health & Human Services sent out a statement urging all residents and visitors to continue to be cautious when recreating in our lakes, especially if Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) are present.
HABs are created when blue-green algae release toxins which can be harmful to human and animal health. According to county health officials, a blue-green algae bloom is currently widespread throughout the South Basin of Chautauqua Lake.
The booms are naturally present in lakes, but can grow out of hand due to nutrient rich runoff from surrounding land, warm water temperature, and sunshine.
These blooms are more likely in nearshore areas than open water areas and are known to contain higher toxin levels than those in open water.
People and pets can be exposed to toxins by touching, swallowing, or inhaling HABs during water recreation activities, through surface water use around the house, such as watering gardens, and through drinking water.
The County Health Department monitors local beaches for HABs and E. coli bacteria. To best protect the public from possible disease exposure, beaches are closed when the water exceeds bacteria safety standards and/or HABs are spotted.
The status of Chautauqua County permitted public beaches and additional information about HABs are listed on the County Website.
The county has also initiated as a series of weekly updates about HABs in Chautauqua County lakes, with widespread HABs in the south basin of Chautauqua Lake and near Long Point State Park; along with isolated blooms in the North Basin.