Toxic algal blooms are cropping up in water bodies across the state, including Saratoga County's Moreau Lake this year.

A new study effort between the state Department of Environmental Conservation and the U.S. Geological Survey's NY Water Science Center is hoping to figure out how these harmful algal blooms develop, how long they last and their effects on water quality, according to a release Wednesday.

Two monitoring stations have already been deployed on Onondaga County's Skaneateles Lake, a sister lake to Lake George and a Finger Lake that provides drinking water to the city of Syracuse.

The stations will measure things like temperature, specific conductance, pH, dissolved oxygen, percent oxygen saturation, turbidity, chlorophyll fluorescene, dissolved organic mater fluorescence and phycocyanin fluorescence. Phycocyanin is a kind of blue-green pigment found in many harmful algal blooms.

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The systems will collect information at 15-minute intervals, 24 hours a day and sent to a database online, available for the public to view at wim.usgs.gov/habs/.

Additional stations are expected to be deployed in Owasco and Seneca lakes by mid-September. The efforts are part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's $65 million initiative to study and combat harmful algal blooms. Lake George and Lake Champlain are two of 12 lakes taking part in that study.

"Protecting water quality is a top priority to ensure safe drinking water and the health of New Yorkers," Cuomo said in a release. "This pilot program will allow us to continue to monitor the status of harmful algal blooms across our lakes, but more importantly, will help us to gather crucial information that will assist us as we work to eliminate these blooms altogether."

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Reporter Gwendolyn Craig can be reached at (518) 742-3238 or gcraig@poststar.com. Follow her on Twitter @gwendolynnn1


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