Leading the effort to address emerging water quality issues, are local community members who care deeply for the health and protection of the lakes and streams in our region. Here at the Community Science Institute (CSI), we work to empower these leaders with the scientific tools and knowledge to better understand the current state of our shared water resources and to collect regulatory-quality data that may be used to help guide the sustainable management and protection of these resources – now, and in the future.
The effectiveness of this community-led approach can be seen in the effort to address the increasing occurrence of harmful algal blooms (HABs) on Cayuga Lake. In 2021, CSI partnered with over 90 volunteers to collectively monitor roughly 57% of the lakeshore for HABs. These volunteers monitor their shoreline at least once per week during the summer months, immediately report any suspicious blooms that occur, and collect samples of these blooms for rapid analysis here at CSI’s certified water testing lab in Ithaca. Together, we documented 102 harmful algal blooms, a worrisome increase from the 78 blooms that occurred last year. While the increasing occurrence of HABs is concerning, more concerning still are the widespread bloom events that occurred this summer. Within roughly five hours on October 6th, widespread blooms occurred at 18 different lakeshore locations around the lake. These blooms were quickly reported by our volunteers and posted on our Cayuga Lake HABs Reporting Page in near real-time, helping to alert the public and manage the health risk of this near ‘lakewide’ bloom event. Here at CSI lab, we analyzed the bloom samples for concentrations of microcystin toxin, finding high toxin concentrations in each of the 17 blooms sampled. Our response to the October 6th bloom event is an example of how CSI is working with volunteers to effectively tackle the issue of harmful algal blooms. By participating in the program, volunteers of our Cayuga Lake HABs Monitoring Program have become experts at identifying and reporting harmful algal blooms. They are now also educating their family, friends, and neighbors about HABs, and raising awareness about this water quality issue in their communities. As a state-certified water testing lab, and one of only five laboratories in the state certified to test for the microcystin toxin found in HABs, CSI is uniquely capable of partnering with these volunteers to further our shared understanding of bloom occurrences on Cayuga Lake and the risk that these blooms present.
Our efforts to partner with the community to address water quality issues such as harmful algal blooms depend on the support of people like you. Help to ensure that we may continue to partner with communities to protect water – now, and in the future – by becoming a member of CSI today. In 2021, we are setting a membership goal of 200 members. Show your support for our work and help us reach this goal by joining our community of members today. Together, we can tackle emerging water quality issues and protect our shared water resources through science, education, and stewardship.
IndentBecome a member at one of the annual contribution levels listed below, and recieve a subscription to our Water Bulletin Newsletter, our Annual Report, an invitation to our Annual Volunteer Symposium, and a discount on water testing at our certified lab in Ithaca, NY. By becoming a member, you will be joining and supporting a community that cares deeply for our streams and lakes, and that these shared water resources are protected.
This year, become a member at the Waterfall level or higher and receive a custom ‘Finger Lakes Edition’ CSI monitoring locations mug!
These mugs will be shipped to members on January 7, 2022.
IndentIf you have already given to CSI this year, thank you for your support! Please continue to help support our efforts by sharing this page and encouraging your friends and family to support local water protection by becoming a member of CSI today!
To make a membership contribution by mail, please send your contribution to the Community Science Institute at:
Community Science Institute
95 Brown Rd./ STE 1044
Ithaca, NY 14850
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