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News from the NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation

DEC Encourages New Yorkers to Learn about Harmful Algal Blooms as Warm Weather Starts

DEC Releases New Brochure to Help Residents Detect, Avoid, and Report HABs

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today encouraged New Yorkers to learn about Harmful Algal Blooms, or "HABs," as DEC's 2017 HABs notification season starts on May 26, and the weather becomes warmer.

To help educate the public about HABs, also known as blue green algae, DEC released a new brochure explaining how to detect, avoid and report HABs, as well as the health risks of HABs. "Harmful algal blooms, commonly known as HABs, impact many of New York's lakes," said Commissioner Basil Seggos. "DEC is working to help New Yorkers better understand how to identify and report a bloom, as well as how to keep themselves and their families and pets safe. We're also working with localities to safeguard water supplies across the state."

Most algae are harmless, but exposure to toxins and other substances from harmful algal blooms can make people and animals sick. HABs can impact drinking water and recreation, and cause unpleasant odors.

"With warmer weather comes the need for increased vigilance in detecting harmful algal blooms that have the potential to invade our lakes and compromise their use for drinking and recreational purposes," said Health Commissioner Howard Zucker. "These new resources complement existing information designed to further educate New Yorkers about algal blooms and expand New York's aggressive efforts to safeguard public health."

HABs vary in appearance from scattered green dots in the water, to long, linear green streaks, pea soup or spilled green paint, to blue-green or white coloration. People, pets and livestock should avoid contact with water that is discolored or has algal scums on the surface. If a bloom is present, do not use the water and inform the DEC HABs Program at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Any symptoms or health concerns related to HABs should be reported to the NYS Department of Health at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

HABs have been detected in nearly 300 water bodies since 2012. To address HABs, DEC works with the NYS Department of Health, NYS Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, and other state and local partners.

While the exact cause of HABs is not fully understood, blooms occur most often in waters high in phosphorus and/or nitrogen. New York State has many programs and activities to reduce phosphorus and nitrogen from entering the water from surrounding lands, including stormwater permitting programs, funding for water quality improvement projects, and a nutrient law that restricts the use of phosphorus lawn fertilizer.

DEC has also released a new Program Guide that details how the DEC HABs Program works with partners to identify, track and report HABs throughout the state, and communicate health risks to the public.

For more information about HABs, including bloom notifications, which are updated each week during the summer and fall, visit DEC's Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) web page. The HABs brochure and program guide, which includes information and links to resources regarding bloom prevention, management, and control, can also be downloaded from the DEC website. Visit the Department of Health's HAB guidelines, "Know, Avoid, Report" (leaves DEC website) web page for more information.


DEC is announcing that a report on investigation of the lower Genesee River is now available. The investigation assessed the effects of historic releases from Kodak’s operations at the Eastman Business Park (EBP) located in Rochester, New York. The investigation identified EBP-related contamination of certain river sediments, wetland/floodplain soils, and biota (fish/mussels) that has the potential to adversely affect ecological receptors at some locations. The investigation also identified the potential for human exposures to EBP-related contaminated wetland/floodplain soils and biota (fish/mussels). The primary EBP-related contaminant of concern is silver. While the potential for adverse risk to ecological and human receptors appears to be relatively low and localized, DEC will undertake a Corrective Measures Study (CMS) to further evaluate these exposure pathways, and to identify and evaluate possible cleanup options that could be taken to reduce exposures.
The CMS step will involve work plan development, implementation and reporting. DEC also expects that additional environmental sampling will need to be performed in 2017 to gather information necessary to effectively identify and evaluate possible cleanup options. DEC expects the CMS report that follows in 2018 will provide a basis for a proposed remedy for releases to the Genesee River associated with Kodak’s historic operations at Eastman Business Park. DEC will seek public comment on the proposed remedy before making a final remedy determination for the lower Genesee River.


This work is funded through an environmental trust created during settlement of Kodak’s bankruptcy. DEC is administering the environmental trust and directing the investigation and remedial assessment of the lower Genesee River.

The investigation included:
• Sampling and chemical analyses of sediment, surface water, and suspended sediment in the lower river, wetland-floodplain soils adjoining the lower river, benthic macroinvertebrates (e.g., mussels) and fish
• Physical characterizations of the river channel, river flows and potential historic and cultural resources in the river
• Assessing sediment toxicity
• Assessing groundwater conditions at the Kings Landing (EBP) Wastewater Treatment Plant
• Assessing sediment bed mobility
• Assessing upstream sites potentially impacting the lower river
• Assessing types and diversity of benthic macroinvertebrates and fish in the lower river

The investigation report can be accessed through DEC’s website: http://www.dec.ny.gov/permits/97804.html
The investigation report is also available at the document repositories listed below.
This project is being handled under DEC’s Resource Conservation Recovery Act (RCRA) regulatory program that requires cleanups (corrective action) for environmental releases from operating hazardous waste management facilities like the Eastman Business Park site.

FOR MORE INFORMATION
Where to Find Information – Document Repositories
Project documents are also available at the following location(s) to help the public to stay informed.
Maplewood Community Library
1111 Dewey Ave
Rochester, NY 14613
Greece Public Library
2 Vince Tofany Blvd
Rochester, NY 14612
We encourage you to share this fact sheet with neighbors and tenants, and/or post this fact sheet in a prominent area of your building for others to see.

Observations Will Help Shape Future Fisheries Management Actions

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) welcomes angler observations as DEC begins its angler diary program on the Genesee River in Allegany and Wyoming counties. The diarist program aims to record dates for trout and bass fishing trips on the Genesee River from the Pennsylvania line downstream through Letchworth State Park from March 1st through October 31, 2017.

"Angler participation in this program is greatly appreciated and will help us to evaluate the Genesee River's fishery quality," said Regional Fisheries Manager Mike Clancy. "This is a great opportunity for anglers to contribute observations and help shape future fishery management actions."

Those who fish the Genesee River (even once) and are able to contribute observations by keeping a fishing diary for DEC can contact the Region 9 Fisheries Office at (716) 372-6372 or by e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

SBS Synopsis OneStreambank erosion is a major contributor to the sediment and nutrient loading in the Upper Genesee River. Given the steep topography and soils of the area, some streambank erosion and the associated sediment and nutrient load would be expected. However, human influences on the watershed and riparian areas exacerbate this erosion. Recent monitoring and modeling studies point to streambank erosion and the presence of agricultural lands without riparian buffers as causes of increased sediment and nutrient loading in this section of the river. The modeling studies suggest that a streambank stabilization program would effectively reduce the sediment and nutrient loads of the Upper Genesee River.

Streambank restoration projects are currently being investigated and funded on an ad-hoc basis. Genesee RiverWatch feels that we need to have a prioritized plan of projects to cover the whole upper watershed but agree we should start smaller with the section of the river near Houghton, NY. This is a section that was identified in the SUNY Brockport (2013) study. In addition to the plan we expect this project will result in the definition of several shovel-ready projects that can be submitted in response to subsequent requests for proposals, including GLRI. Lessons learned here will also help us develop the larger watershed plan.

A meander analysis was developed in partnership with the Allegany County Soil and Water Conservation District to characterize the degree of streambank erosion on specific segments of the Genesee River in the Town of Caneadea, Allegany County, New York. This technique enabled the identification of river bank segments that should be considered for restoration. A project design and cost for each of the 17 segments evaluated was developed. These designs and the use of an evaluation matrix allowed for the establishment of the priority order of restoration for each segment. The evaluation of these restoration projects will be used to select which projects should be brought forward for submittal to funding agencies.

Five projects were identified as the top priority projects based upon the analysis conducted. (See the priority sites on the story map.) One of those projects (Site 2A) was designed and estimated to the level necessary for submittal to a funding agency. A detailed project proposal was developed in anticipation of submittal to several funding agencies in the next six to eight months. The landowner of that segment has been trying for years to define and implement a project to slow down his loss of valuable farmland. Try our fully-interactive "Swipe Tool"  (and User guide)

SBS Synopsis TwoThe shovel-ready project that was developed will stabilize of 900 linear feet of un-buffered agricultural field along the Genesee River in the town of Caneadea, New York. This restoration will reduce sediment and phosphorus loads to the river while adding 900 feet of new riparian zone. This project with emphasize the use of bioengineering techniques and habitat enhancement.

Click to download the final report.