The NCCOS Harmful Algal Bloom Event Response Program is assisting the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PA DEP) respond to and document the first cyanobacteria harmful algal bloom (CyanoHAB) in Presque Isle Bay, along the south shore of Lake Erie. Researchers sampled the small scale bloom near Presque Isle State Park in late July, and testing confirmed the presence of cyanobacteria species Microcystis, Aphanizomenon, and Anabaena. Additionally, these water samples had cyanotoxin microcystin levels that, based on World Health Organization guidelines, posed a high risk to recreational water users.
Based on these results, PA DEP issued a public advisory on August 2. NCCOS support, approved on August 13, will help PA DEP and park managers continue elevated CyanoHAB toxin monitoring through the busy Labor Day weekend and mobilize in-kind cyanoHAB monitoring assistance from the operational MERHAB Lower Great Lakes program. Pennsylvania Sea Grant is also providing support. Responders do not expect the bloom to extend to Presque Isle beaches, but NCCOS assistance will enable PA DEP, park managers, and local scientists to safeguard public health and document this unusual HAB event.
For more information, contact Marc.Suddleson@noaa.gov.