2023 Weekly Cyanobacteria Emails to Monitors

Click on the weekly report header to access the full report and photos.

Week 12 - LCC 2023 Cyano Monitor Email & Guidance for Future Monitoring

We had far fewer reports during week 12 in part due to a lower incidence of blooms but also because municipal and state parks are closing and seasonal staff and volunteers are leaving the region so there are fewer monitors reporting as summer ends. If you’re still in the area and able to continue monitoring through late fall, please do so. It’s not uncommon to see blooms in the fall months--we have had reports of cyanobacteria in November in recent years.  Your reports are important regardless of whether or not you witness blooms so please file reports any time you make observations. Lower temperatures will cool the water surface and may reduce the incidence of blooms in deeper waters like Lake Champlain’s Main Lake, but shallow water areas like Missisquoi and St. Albans Bay and Lake Carmi will likely be less affected and blooms may continue over the next few weeks.

Week 11 - LCC 2023 Cyano Monitor Email & Guidance for Future Monitoring

It was another challenging week for water quality with nearly half of the 188 reports received from Lake Champlain sites chronicling blooms during week 11. Hot temperatures over the Labor Day weekend spurred cyanobacteria growth and blooms were reported in every Lake Champlain lake segment except for the South Lake. 

Week 10 - LCC 2023 Cyano Monitor Email & Guidance for Future Monitoring

These have been taxing weeks for many monitors – especially those covering the Lake Champlain or Lake Carmi sites where blooms have persisted for days on end or continue to pop up sporadically week after week. During week 10 over a third of the 148 Lake Champlain reports received were of blooms. Blooms dominated again in St. Albans Bay and Missisquoi Bay but also colored waters and shoreline areas in parts of the Inland Sea, Main Lake North, and Malletts Bay. Main Lake Central, Main Lake South, and the South Lake were bloom-free.

Week 9 - LCC 2023 Cyano Monitor Email & Guidance for Future Monitoring

Blooms continued to dominate Lake Champlain monitoring reports from St. Albans Bay and Malletts Bay during week 9 and were also recorded in Missisquoi Bay, the Inland Sea, Main Lake North, and Main Lake South. Main Lake Central and the South Lake were again bloom-free but we received very few reports from the latter lake segment.

Week 8 - LCC 2023 Cyano Monitor Email & Guidance for Future Monitoring

It was another week of bloom gloom at many northern Lake Champlain sites. The majority of reports from St. Albans Bay, Missisquoi Bay, the Inland Sea, St. Albans Bay, and Malletts Bay sites were of bloom conditions. Main Lake North also had a significant number of blooms while all site reports from Main Lake Central to the South Lake were bloom-free. Some monitors reported that they witnessed the worst conditions they had ever seen in a particular lake section. You’ll find specific details of from Lake Champlain and VT Inland Lake sites in this report. 

Week 7 - LCC 2023 Cyano Monitor Email & Guidance for Future Monitoring

Another challenging week for St. Albans Bay with blooms dominating the reports for that section of Lake Champlain yet again. Blooms were also witnessed in Missisquoi Bay, the Inland Sea, and Main Lake North. Other sections of the big lake were bloom-free for week 7 as were the VT Inland Lakes based on the reports we received. While it is characteristic of recent trends that we see blooms concentrated in St. Albans Bay and Missisquoi Bay this time of year, be mindful that they can happen anywhere. The heavy nutrient loading from the July 2023 flooding as well as temperature and weather patterns all influence conditions. This email is a compilation of week 7 (8/6 – 8/12/23) monitoring results but three days into week 8 we have already received over 50 bloom reports from Lake Champlain sites in Missisquoi Bay, St. Albans Bay, the Inland Sea, and Malletts Bay! In some cases monitors have noted blooms extending as far out into the waters as they can see. Witnessing a cyanobacteria bloom can take an emotional toll – blooms threaten water quality, public health, recreation, the economy, and quality of life. We’re bearing witness to painful changes. Monitoring is not the end result of LCC’s work, it’s foundational for our nutrient reduction advocacy. 

Week 6 - LCC 2023 Cyano Monitor Email & Guidance for Future Reporting

Blooms hit St. Albans Bay hard again with cyanobacteria persisting at some locations all week long or showing up off and on during the sixth week of monitoring. August and September are often prime times for bloom conditions so please continue to check conditions at least weekly and report out daily through the time blooms dissipate whenever possible. Everyone at LCC greatly appreciates your monitoring diligence and dedication!

Week 5 - LCC 2023 Cyano Monitor Email & Guidance for Future Reporting

Blooms took off during week 5 in many areas of Lake Champlain’s St. Albans Bay closing the town beach and impeding recreational use for most of the week. Blooms also showed up at several Burlington sites in Main Lake Central but didn’t persist for as long. Thanks to everyone who reported in and especially those monitors who filed daily reports to help us keep the tracker updated with timely information. August is historically when many locations are more susceptible to blooms and the recent heavy nutrient loading from the July 2023 floods may exacerbate this situation. Please keep your eyes on the water and those reports coming in! 

Week 4 - LCC 2023 Cyano Monitor Email & Guidance for Future Reporting

There were fewer blooms during week four than during the first two weeks of monitoring but we are not in the heart of bloom season yet. We also likely saw a reprieve in some areas due to the turbidity and dilution factors from the flooding. However, we are bracing ourselves for the after-effects of all the additional nutrient loading which will help feed future blooms. Thank you for being diligent about monitoring and reporting daily through the time a bloom dissipates whenever possible.

Week 3 - LCC 2023 Cyano Monitor Email & Guidance for Future Reporting

Far fewer bloom reports were received during Week 3 of the cyanobacteria monitoring season. This is largely attributed to the volatile weather patterns and the increased turbidity from the flooding that affected much of Lake Champlain as well as Vermont inland waterways. The heavy sediment load carried by a high volume of water had a combined effect of limiting light necessary for bloom growth and diluting existing cyanobacteria. However, flooded tributaries also sent high levels of nutrients to Lake Champlain and other waterways. Early estimations are that some tributaries delivered more phosphorus to Lake Champlain during the July 2023 floods than during all of 2022! This will likely fuel blooms later in the season.

Week 2 - LCC 2023 Cyano Monitor Email & Guidance for Future Reporting

Week 2 of cyanobacteria monitoring began with another spate of bloom reports and ended with catastrophic flooding which has devastated communities in the Lake Champlain watershed and throughout the state of Vermont. We hope you are safe, healthy, and dry—and that you’ve made it through the storms (which aren’t over) without damage. While Lake Champlain is below flood stage, it is receiving a heavy load of debris, nutrients, sediment, and a stormwater swill of oil and other pollutants from swollen tributaries, wastewater overflows, and failed septic systems. Some of your monitoring locations have been affected causing unsafe conditions for monitoring. Please be extra cautious when going out to report—check local conditions and stay out of the lake in flood affected areas. Your safety is our highest priority—do not put yourself at risk to file a monitor report.

Week 1 - LCC 2023 Cyano Monitor Email & Guidance for Future Reporting

Cyanobacteria monitoring officially began last week for the 2023 season. It’s been wonderful to connect with new and returning monitors through email, phone, our virtual training sessions, in-person visits, and your reporting. We are excited to have such a great crew of community scientists assessing water conditions. We received 185 reports during the week with some monitors kept very busy filing daily reports due to blooms. Big thanks to everyone who reported in!