About 75 people turned out for a briefing on the history of water quality issues on Sodus Bay and to hear about the seven projects going on in an effort find long term solutions to these problems. Dr. Joe Makarewicz, who has been sampling Sodus Bay for over 25 years, showed historical data of the high loads of phosphorus entering the Bay at certain points. These “hot spots” are thought to be the major contributors to the problem. The slides show the data numbers unchanged over the years. There has been enough sampling that we can now pin point specific sites to begin restoration efforts.
Dr. Greg Boyer talked about the interaction of phosphorus and the blue green alga blooms. The loads entering the Bay represent only part of the problem. Concentrations from house-hold fertilizers and storm water run-off can also play a significant role. Dr. Boyer presented a summation of the data sets taken in 2011. The data showed the highest concentration of blooms in late fall. He also explained how data being collected 24 hours a day from the buoys will be used. This real time data will be available on the SOS website and will help pin point characteristics as well as movement of a bloom due to currents and temperature.
Dr. Boyer explained although we can find short term solutions, we need to figure out how we can stop it long term. Treatment can be expensive and may be economically prohibitive.
There will be a team of researchers on the Bay. The public is invited to ask questions, SOS is working with Dr. Boyer and his team to establish drop off stations for data samples from the public. One of the problems we had last year was tracking the sample results back to the owner, we hope to improve that communication. Watch the SOS website and e-blast for a form and guidelines.
Lindsey M. Gerstenslager, of Wayne County Soil and Water Conservation District (WCSWCD) thanked the Neighborhood Association for their display of chemical and phosphorus free household products and again reiterated the need to work together. She gave an overview of the aquatic weed harvesting program and why the program plays a role when it comes to water quality. She also talked about N.Y. Sea Grant and the Finger Lake’s institute’s exotic inspection program starting up this spring. Boats will be inspected for hydrilla, zebra & quagga mussel and more. The information will then be complied and will give scientists a better idea of the movement as well as inventory of these harmful invasives.
Lindsey M. Gerstenslager also talked about the role of SOS as a collaborator along with WCSWCD and SUNY ESF in a recent Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) grant. If funded the monies will allow restoration and stream bank remediation for the Sodus Creek Watershed. These are areas with high concentrations of phosphorus entering the Bay. A copy of the complete grant abstract of the GLRI GRANT proposal can be found here. We’ll keep you posted.
A printed project summary publication of all Bay activities going on this summer will be sent with the membership renewal forms going out in the next few weeks. The publication can also be found at the Village and Town halls and various marinas and business locations around Sodus Bay.