New York’s borders encompass fresh, estuarine, and salt waters, each plagued by harmful algal bloom (HAB) outbreaks that pose risks to human health and the economic vitality of coastal communities.
NCCOS is informing the upstate New York public and management community of the predicted rise of freshwaterCyanoHABs by sponsoring workshops that provide information on a broad range of Great Lakes HAB topics including, what HABs are, what they look like, how they form, toxins and potential effects on humans and fisheries, and how to detect, predict, manage and monitor them. These workshops represent the first in a series of HAB outreach efforts to NY coastal communities bordering the Lower Great Lakes (Lake Erie and Lake Ontario).
Workshop audiences have been diverse, thus far, including: county health officials, water authorities, county soil and water conservation districts, marina operators, cooperative extension agents, municipal planners, shoreline residents, and citizen conservation groups. Attendees receive information that can be taken back to their local community leaders, agriculture interests, shoreline property owners, and businesses. The overall goal of the workshops is to increase community awareness, promote a greater sense of coastal environmental stewardship, and foster a collaborative approach among citizens, researchers, and managers to prevent, control, and mitigate HABs.
The first workshops, held July 18 (Amherst, NY), and July 19 (Auburn, NY), 2013, included presentations and panel discussions. Speakers included NCCOS sponsored HAB researchers Drs. Chris Gobler (SUNY Stony Brook) and Greg Boyer (SUNY ESF), Scott Kishbaugh (NYDEC), James Hyde (NYDOH), Dave MacNeill and Kathy Howarth (NY Sea Grant), Frank Lichtkoppler (Ohio Sea Grant), Ed Leroux (Save our Sodus), and John Wickham (NCCOS). The workshops, funded through the NCCOS Ecology and Oceanography of Harmful Algal Blooms Program (ECOHAB) and organized by the New York Sea Grant Program, were attended by approximately 25 -35 people each. Future workshops are being considered around the state, and this work contributed to a recent Pennsylvania HABs Stakeholder Workshop. For more information, contact John.Wickham@noaa.gov.