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Cuomo calls for major investment, new approach to algal blooms

Ellen Abbott
At SUNY ESF, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announces a proposed strategy to spend $65 million on regional forums, community specific action plans and cutting-edge pilot projects to fight algal blooms.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is proposing an investment of $65 million into fighting algal blooms that have created an increasing number of problems across the state in recent years. 

The Cuomo administration will target 12 priority lakes in four different regions that are vulnerable to harmful algal blooms. They are all different, and lessons learned form studying each lake would be applied to other similar lakes going forward.

Greg Boyer of SUNY ESF in Syracuse has been studying algal blooms for years. He says this approach works because not all algal blooms are created equally.

"It’s not going to be one size fits all," Boyer said. "So the idea of a regional summit where you can focus on individual targets and individual issues on the lakes is exactly what they need to be doing.”

For example, Boyer says nutrient levels between Chautauqua Lake and Skaneateles Lake vary, which necessitates two different management strategies. The initiative will bring together experts who will develop immediate action plans to reduce sources of pollution that spark algal blooms in each targeted lake.

The issue took on added importance this past summer when algal blooms shut down parks and beaches and threatened drinking water sources for thousands in central New York. 

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.