This is the final webinar in our Spring Finger Lakes Forecast series. The cyanobacteria that create toxic algae blooms are ancient organisms that have been in our waters since life on Earth began to blossom. So why have they recently become such a problem in the Finger Lakes? Years of research have documented two main causes: climate change and nutrient runoff from the land into the creeks and streams that feed our lakes. In the short run, we can’t do much to stop the warming of our waters that accelerate their growth, or the heavy downpours that push manure and fertilizer into our ditches and waterways; but we can start to develop better land-use practices and policies to slow down nutrient runoff and stop feeding the blooms.
Our panelists include several experts on the topic. Jessica Swindon is the Chair of Sustainable Finger Lakes and will share a quick overview of the factors that have led to our repeated widespread outbreaks of harmful algae blooms (HABs). Andy Zepp, Executive Director of the Finger Lakes Land Trust, will talk about ways to address the plumbing and revegetation issues in riparian zones. Brett Chedzoy, Senior Resource Educator for Schuyler Cooperative Extension, has experience with forestry management and regenerative agriculture techniques such as rotational grazing and silvopasture that can keep nutrients out of the water while improving soil health and carbon storage. Hilary Lambert is the former Steward of the Cayuga Lake Watershed Network where she was involved in monitoring the growing threat of HABs and can share what groups in other parts of the country have been doing to address nutrient pollution in the lakes.
Please join us at noon on Wednesday, June 29th to learn what citizens of the Finger Lakes can do to organize a response to this threat by calling for necessary policy changes in managing our roadside ditches and riparian areas and adopting climate-aware land-use practices.