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2021 environment review: Another year of algal blooms

2021 environment review: Another year of algal blooms

2021 environment in review: Another year of harmful algal blooms

Cayuga Lake, like other Finger Lakes lakes, was plagued by harmful algal blooms from 2021. (Vaughn Golden/WSKG)

WSKG takes a look back at the most pressing environmental issues of the last 12 months, and how they might move forward in 2022.

VESTAL (NY) Cayuga Lake has struggled to deal with harmful algal blossoms or HABs over the past years. But in 2021 unseasonably hot temperatures and heavy rainfall may have increased their prevalence late in the year.

Monitoring groups observed more HABs across multiple lakes in 2021, with some even appearing as late October.

Hillary Lambert, Executive Director at the Cayuga lake Watershed Network, stated to WSKG that the blooms were likely caused by heavy rainfall throughout the year.

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“That probably contributed to the blooms in that the water flowing over the land brought more nutrients from farm fields, nitrogen and phosphorus and from human septic systems and other sources into the lake, Lambert said. And with the warm weather, the blooms just gobbled that up and we had the late season, rather dangerous situation.”

She expressed optimism about the progress of mitigation efforts going into 2022. Lambert stated that the Cayuga Lake-area counties are actively working with farmers in order to reduce phosphorus runoff.

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