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Harmful algal bloom

A harmful algal bloom, or toxic cyanobacteria bloom, can look like spilled paint.

Online Saturday and in print on Sunday, I'll have for you the first article in a series about harmful algal blooms, more accurately called cyanobacteria.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation has already documented a couple dozen of these toxic algal blooms across the state, some confirmed and others still considered suspicious.

It's important for people recreating on water bodies to keep a look out. Cyanobacteria can look like spilled paint, wispy streaks of green, or chunky clumps. 

You don't want to swim in it, if you see it. If it is a toxic bloom, you could get sick or develop a rash. Also make sure to keep your dogs from jumping into a bloom. These toxins can attack the liver and nervous system, and have been known to kill dogs in less than an hour.

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The state's mantra is "Know it, avoid it, report it."

Click here for a good page from the DEC that shows what cyanobacteria looks like, versus regular old algae

Click here for the DEC's notification page, which includes where the latest blooms have been spotted, some photos, and how to report a bloom if you see one. 

— Gwendolyn Craig

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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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