Water News from Near and Far

Boater Safety Course Now On-line

As of last May, all New York State boaters born after May 1, 1996 had to complete a boater safety course in order to legally operate a motorboat. Until recently such courses required eight hours of classroom time. However, New York has recently approved some internet-based boating safety courses as well. More information on boater safety courses, both on-line and classroom-based, can be found at the NY Office of Parks. Once completed, the boater safety certification does not expire. Applicants may choose to have an anchor icon added to their driver’s license. Courses are not available to children under the age of ten.

New Lake George Septic Regs

The Town of Lake George has adopted new regulations that will make it easier for residences to install septic systems. The new requirements track more closely with existing statewide regulations. The specific town regulations had been more stringent than state regulations leading to a high number of requests for variances. According to the Glens Falls Post Star, the debate over the decades-old regulations centered on differences of opinion on how restrictive setbacks to the lake and tributaries should be, and what size requirements should be in place for such systems. The change will only affect systems that use less than 1,000 gallons per day. 

Bottled Water E. Coli Contamination

A California based bottling company issued a voluntary recall for 14 brands of bottled water. All of the brands had been bottled at a spring in Auburn, Pennsylvania which may have been contaminated with E. coli. The contamination was not found in any finished product but had been found at the bottling facility. The recall was limited to water bottled between June 10 and June 18. The brand names affected by the recall were Acadia, Acme, Big Y, Best Yet, 7-11, Niagara, Nature's Place, Pricerite, Superchill, Morning Fresh, Shaws, Shoprite, Western Beef Blue and Wegmans. LCC recommends tap water in order to cut down on plastic waste and take advantage of Lake Champlain’s bounty.

Early Algae Blooms in Wisconsin

Three beaches in Madison, Wisconsin were closed last month due to potentially toxic blue green algae blooms. While blooms are not uncommon on adjacent Lake Mendota, they were unusually early this year. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin raised concerns that the early season bloom may have been accentuated by the presence of an invasive species, spiny water flea, which arrived in the lake six years ago. Spiny water flea were found in Lake Champlain last summer. 

Massive Algae Bloom off West Coast

huge algae bloom off the West Coast shut down the region's fisheries last month. The algae in question are not the blue-greens familiar on Lake Champlain, but rather a diatom called Pseudo-nitzschia. The bloom may help explain why so many young malnourished sea lions are coming ashore. The bloom began in May and has led to warnings on harvesting shellfish in California, Oregon, and Washington. Algae cells have even been reported from Alaska. It is the largest bloom in over a decade, and it is occurring earlier in the year than have past blooms.