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Murky water

Brown algae presents no health risks, good fishing conditions

August 22, 2013
Westfield Republican / Mayville Sentinel News

By Liz Skoczylas

Chautauqua Lake currently has a brown algae that is not harmful to humans, and is also creating ideal fishing conditions for anglers.

Article Photos

Photos by Liz Skoczylas
Murky water has been caused by brown algae on Chautauqua Lake but has been deemed to not present a health risk.

According to Jeff Diers, Chautauqua County watershed coordinator, there appear to be less weeds this year than in previous years. Diers credited cooler temperatures for the lake's condition.

"The weeds this year are definitely not as much of an issue as they have been in years past," Diers said. "The cool weather has definitely helped us in that regard. Areas that have had normal, typical weed growth, whenever the weeds become well-established, the Chautauqua Lake Association has been very able to go and deal with those weed issues in specific areas more readily this year."

Brown algae is not harmful to humans, and is creating ideal fishing conditions. Cooler-than-average temperatures have kept weed and algae growth at bay this summer.

Diers said he has spoken several times with agencies and experts surrounding the lake, who have reported there is brown algae in the lake, however he said it is not harmful, according to the New York State Department of Conservation.

"Over the last several weeks, Chautauqua Lake has had a standing algal community across the entire basin," he said. "It appears to be brown algae."

The weather forecast for the next several days predicts temperatures in the high 70s and low 80s. Although the temperatures typically encourage algae and plant growth, Diers said he is not overly concerned.

"I would hope that this late in the season, the submerged aquatic vegetation and weeds are not going to negatively impact the remaining portion of the summer," Diers said. "But, we should be concerned about the potential for algal blooms, which is something we do not have the ability to control at this time."

Craig Robbins, Chautauqua County sports fishing and hunting director, said he has been pleased with the conditions this summer, especially when it comes to fishing and recreation.

"It seems like the lake's been in real good shape this year," Robbins said.

"With the extra funds that the CLA received, the vegetation hasn't really been an issue at all. We really haven't seen many blooms. A lot of that has to do with cutting the vegetation, keeping the vegetation under control. Also, the temperatures for the last few weeks have been low. The lake temperature has also been down."

Additionally, Robbins said there have been many people enjoying the lake, especially on the weekends. And, the brown algae has been helpful in creating ideal fishing conditions, which he called "phenomenal."

"Fisherman traditionally like the water to be a little cloudy. With real clear water, obviously, fish can see real well, and they can see anglers. So, a little cloudy water, fishing is usually best when it's not some high-noon type thing with the sun beating down and water crystal clear. Off-colored water is good for anglers."



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