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Wendy Paterson
716.852.7483, ext. 26

What is a harmful algal bloom?

A Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) contains organisms that can produce toxins. Most algae are harmless and are components of an aquatic ecosystem. HABs are likely to occur in slow-moving water with excess nutrients. HABs are harmful to people and animals.


How do I identify a HAB?

Since it is hard to identify a HAB from non-harmful algal blooms, it’s important to avoid recreating and drinking the water. In WNY, HABs are blooms of cyanobacteria, often referred to as Blue Green Algae. Click HERE for some visual clues to help you identify a bloom.

How can I report a HAB?

Please report the bloom to New York State Department of Conservation. Fill out and submit a Suspicious Algal Bloom Report Form and email with pictures if possible.

What health risks are associated with HAB?

Symptoms that coincide with contact of HAB include stomach, skin, eye, and throat irritation, allergic reactions, or breathing difficulties. If you think you’re experiencing health risks associated with HAB, consider visiting a healthcare professional.
How do I learn more about HAB?

Check out these FAQs.

How can I stay up to date on local HABs?” Affected areas are listed on the New York State Department of Conservation website. You can also subscribe to their HAB newsletter.

How can I make a difference?

All around the United States, runaway algae growth caused by water pollution is threatening ecosystems, as well as people’s health and livelihood. Harmful blooms are a worldwide issue and are expected to worsen with warming waters caused by climate change. In the United States, many Waterkeeper Organizations and Affiliates are working to stop the release of pollutants that cause these blooms.

Please keep an eye out for HABs while recreating in area waterways during the hot, dry months of the year. Note that toxins potentially produced by a HAB might still be present even after it is no longer visible.