Memorandum of Support

S. 8356 (Senator May)/A. 8867 (Assemblymember Kelles)

The Harmful Algal Bloom Monitoring and Prevention Act

This legislation will establish a clearinghouse of comprehensive information about Harmful Algal Blooms (HAB) on waterbodies in New York and requires eventual DEC regulations to prevent the spread of HABs on our waterbodies. Harmful algal blooms pose a serious threat to human and animal health, use, and enjoyment of our state’s waterbodies. This bill is urgently needed because the spread of HABs and their toxic effects is facilitated by climate change and the warming of lakes.

The DEC  HAB website authorized by this legislation will enable local government, landowners, lake associations and the public to understand where HABs are detected, map their occurrence, and gain information about their toxicity, as well best practices and avoidance and mitigation measures recommended to prevent their presence and growth, and reduce their impacts.

Crucially, it also directs DEC to coordinate its activities with  local governments and federal agencies to study, analyze and prevent the spread of HABs in New York, and it provides a funding mechanism to help pay for the work of localities and lake associations in preventing their spread and addressing outbreaks of HABs using best practices.

Finally, the bill requires a report after five years to include DEC analysis, findings, and recommendations to prevent HABs and to avoid and mitigate their impacts on waterbodies across the state.

For decades, the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan has tasked the DEC with the job of assessing the capacity of Adirondack lakes to withstand  all manner of human uses without loss of their biological, physical, chemical, and recreational values. While that comprehensive assessment awaits DEC attention, with respect to the vulnerability of these and other lakes to the introduction of HABs this bill will serve as a useful model for assessing this worrisome yardstick of a lake’s overall capacity to withstand human uses.

Adirondack Wild urges passage  and enactment of the HAB Monitoring and Prevention Act in this session.

March 5, 2024

Contact: David Gibson, Managing Partner, Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve; 518-469-4081