Despite the hot weather last week, we were fortunate to continue to have little bloom activity on the lake, with only one single HAB having been reported. Information on that algal bloom is below:
Up to date information about cyanoblooms on Cayuga Lake can be found on the Community Science Institute’s website here. Once the microscopy and microcystin results are in, they can be found in table format on the CSI’s HABs Reporting page, so be sure to check back!
Even though the frequency of algal bloom occurrences have slowed, it’s important to remain vigilant while recreating on the lake. If you believe you’ve seen a suspicious bloom, be sure to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the location, date, time, and photos of the suspicious HAB.
Living with Uncertainty: Facing an Ever-Changing Environment
As the climate changes, so does the environment that we have grown used to. With these changes, it seems that a feeling of uncertainty is beginning to permeate nearly every aspect of our lives, whether it is not knowing if you will be able to swim at the beach today or not knowing what places dear to you will look like ten years into the future. Naturally, all of this uncertainty tends to be accompanied by anxiety. If this applies to you, you are not alone! Many people are growing increasingly concerned about the uncertainties of the future. Fortunately, there are several ways to cope with this unpleasant feeling.
The first thing that is important to acknowledge when feeling anxious and uncertain is that our brains tend to overestimate the likeliness of the worst case outcome to occur, while underestimating our resilience and ability to deal with the potential outcome. According to Psychology Today, people generally adjust well to changes, whether positive or negative, and tend to return to the same level of life satisfaction as that they felt pre-change much more quickly than they might think. So, though our fears for the future may be very real, we will likely adapt to future changes much more quickly than what we may believe in the moment.
If a specific worry is in mind, such as not knowing if a beach will be open for an upcoming family vacation, it may be helpful to write these worries down on paper. Once this is done, assess the best, worst, and most realistic outcomes. How will you handle each scenario? Thinking through these cases will help prepare you for the potential outcome, and help to put you at ease next time this worry begins to occupy your thoughts. This strategy though may not be as effective for dealing with more non-specific, bigger-picture uncertainties, such as what has come to be known as eco-anxiety or climate change grief.
If you’re struggling with eco-anxiety, it may help to take action to contribute to solving the problem. This can not only help to redirect focus from your worries, but it also may help you find like minded people who share similar concerns. Many opt to take to the streets and protest, but there are still many things you can do, even if attending rallies isn’t your cup of tea. If you’re in search of ways to help the environment, this list is a good place to start, but is by no means comprehensive: https://www.cnn.com/2019/05/07/health/climate-anxiety-eprise/index.html
Above all, it is important to remain optimistic. Yes, the future is uncertain, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. It means that there is still time to change our current trajectory! Though none of us can single-handedly control water quality, the climate, or the actions of the government, we can control whether or not we contribute to these issues ourselves. Next time you find yourself worrying about the uncertain, try employing one of these coping strategies.
Last winter, the Cayuga Lake Watershed Network in partnership with the Interfaith Center for Action and Healing created a coping group for those suffering from climate change grief. If you are interested in joining, contact Hilary Lambert at email@example.com for more information.
More information on these tips and others can be found here: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/science-practice/201901/living-in-uncertain-times
Other helpful readings:
Check the beach for HABs before you go!
One way to limit HABs-related uncertainty is to call park offices ahead of your trip to the beach. By doing so, you can find the most up to date information on water quality.
Taughannock Falls State Park (607) 387-6739
Cayuga Lake State Park (315) 568-5163
Long Point State Park (315) 364- 5637 or (315) 497-0130
Lansing Myers Park (607) 533-7388 ext. 17
Village of Cayuga: Harris Park (315) 252-1707
Wells College Dock and Swimming Area, Village of Aurora (315) 364-7293
For more information about HABs and what to do if you believe you have had contact with one, check out the DEC’s HABs page here: https://www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/77118.html
More information about blue-green algae:
Harmful Algal Blooms in Context - https://www.adirondackalmanack.com/2019/07/harmful-algae-blooms-in-context.html
Learn how scientists predict the spread of toxic algae blooms (a short video) - https://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/article233309927.html
Jessica Biggott, Cayuga Lake Watershed Network 2019 HABs Communication Intern firstname.lastname@example.org
The Cayuga Lake HABs Monitoring Program is a collaborative effort led by a local consortium of three nonprofits: The Community Science Institute (CSI), the Cayuga Lake Watershed Network (CLWN), and Discover Cayuga Lake (DCL), working in collaboration with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) and the State University of New York School of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF).
Cayuga Lake Watershed Network
Community Science Institute