The New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is encouraging New Yorkers to use a new user- and mobile-friendly website to send in reports of harmful algal blooms (HABs).

“As New York experiences warming temperatures, DEC is working closely with the State Department of Health (DOH) and our local partners to investigate harmful algal blooms and make significant investments to prevent excess nutrients and other contaminants from negatively affecting water quality,” DEC Interim Commissioner Sean Mahar said.

“DEC’s updated map and reporting system allows for more effective monitoring of potential threats to the health or recreational use of waterbodies, and we encourage New Yorkers to be on the lookout for HABs and report any sightings,” he said.

In addition to the reporting features, the new website also includes an interactive map of current and archived bloom locations to help keep New Yorkers informed about potential HABs.

State leaders explained that DEC and DOH evaluate all HABs reports and once confirmed, reports are posted to the NYHABS page. State leaders said they believe the new online HABs map and reporting system allow the state to be a national leader in supporting initiatives to address HABs and to ensure effective communication to the public.

“Exposure to harmful algae blooms can cause health effects in people and animals, including pets, when water with blooms is touched, swallowed, or when airborne droplets are inhaled,” State Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald said. “New York State is aggressively proactive in monitoring and combatting these blooms to protect public health, and this new map and reporting system will allow New Yorkers to better ‘Know it, Avoid it, and Report it.’”

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk SLG's Assistant Copy & Production Editor, covering Cybersecurity, Education, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs