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By Dr. Fred Lubnow, Senior Technical Director of Ecological Services

As we reflect on the winter of 2023-2024, it's evident that New Jersey experienced another unusually mild season, mirroring the winter of 2022-2023. Notably, Lake Hopatcong, located in Sussex and Morris Counties, remained virtually ice-free throughout the winter, with only a brief period of minor ice formation in early January. This pattern was not isolated to Lake Hopatcong; many lakes across the state and the broader Mid-Atlantic region exhibited similar ice-free conditions. Such conditions can lead to increased algal and plant growth earlier in the year.

Adding to this, from January to early June 2024, 15 of New Jersey's 21 counties recorded precipitation levels 26% to 50% higher than their long-term averages. The remaining six counties, predominantly in the southern part of the state, had precipitation increases of 11% to 25% above their long-term normals. This heightened precipitation is significant as it can transport nutrients, most notably phosphorus and nitrogen, into water bodies, potentially fueling the growth of algae.

Compounding these factors, long-range climate models and trends suggest that the summer of 2024 could rank among the hottest on record. The combination of a mild winter, increased precipitation, and anticipated high summer temperatures sets the stage for conditions similar to those experienced in 2019, a year marked by widespread harmful algal blooms (HABs) in numerous lakes.

HABs, characterized by rapid overgrowths of cyanobacteria, present serious challenges to water quality and aquatic ecosystems. Cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae, naturally occur in aquatic environments but can proliferate rapidly under warm, nutrient-rich conditions. These blooms pose risks to human health, wildlife, aquatic species, local economies, and the overall ecological balance. The interplay between climate change and HABs is undeniable: rising temperatures and altered precipitation patterns foster conditions that exacerbate bloom occurrences.

Given these circumstances, it is crucial for lake managers and water utilities to adopt proactive measures. Early and consistent sampling efforts can detect cyanobacteria and akinetes, dormant spores that contribute to bloom formation. Additionally, reducing nutrient inputs, particularly phosphorus, into waterways is essential to prevent HABs. Princeton Hydro strongly recommends that lake managers, water utilities, and concerned community members closely monitor their lakes, reservoirs, and riverways to stay as proactive as possible in managing these valuable resources.

By raising awareness, fostering collaboration, and implementing effective strategies, we can work towards safeguarding the health and sustainability of our freshwater ecosystems. Together, we can address the challenges posed by HABs and protect the integrity of our water bodies. For more information about HABs, click here.


Dr. Fred Lubnow, Princeton Hydro’s Senior Technical Director, Ecological Services, is an expert in aquatic and watershed management, restoration ecology, community and ecosystem ecology, and the use of benthic macroinvertebrate and fish in-stream bioassessment protocols. Dr. Lubnow has managed hundreds of lake projects and provides technical expertise for a variety of lake and watershed restoration projects.

His experience in lake and reservoir restoration includes the design and implementation of dredging, aeration, chemical control of nuisance species, nutrient inactivation (i.e. alum) and biomanipulation. His experience in watershed restoration includes the design and implementation of structural Best Management Practices (BMPs), the development of Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) pollutant budgets, and the design, implementation and analysis of watershed-based monitoring programs.

[post_title] => Preparing for Potential Harmful Algal Blooms: An Urgent Call to Action for NJ's Lakes and Reservoirs [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => an-urgent-call-to-action-habs [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2024-06-11 18:25:13 [post_modified_gmt] => 2024-06-11 18:25:13 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://princetonhydro.com/?p=15090 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [1] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 14981 [post_author] => 1 [post_date] => 2024-05-18 05:47:55 [post_date_gmt] => 2024-05-18 05:47:55 [post_content] =>

Did you know that New York State is home to a rich tapestry of natural waterbodies, including over 7,600 freshwater lakes, ponds, and reservoirs? Our team recently journeyed to Lake George, New York, to participate in the 41st annual conference of the New York State Federation of Lake Associations (NYSFOLA).

This year’s conference, themed “It Takes a Community to Protect a Watershed,” brought together environmental experts, lake management professionals, students, recreation enthusiasts, watershed advocates, and lake community members to advance the best available information and techniques for protecting and restoring New York’s watersheds. The two-day program featured a diverse exhibitor hall, networking events, a silent auction, a student poster session and a variety of presentations and workshops that combined science, policy, practical applications, and tangible resources.

Princeton Hydro, a proud sponsor of the conference, led two presentations during the “Climate Resilience and Your Lake" segment of the educational program:

Michael Hartshorne, Director of Aquatics, delivered an insightful presentation titled "Impacts of Climate Change on Lake Ecology," which delved into the significant role of climate change in shaping lake ecosystems. During the session, Michael highlighted key factors such as rising water temperatures, heightened frequency and severity of rainfall, depletion of dissolved oxygen, fluctuating patterns of algal blooms, and the migration of invasive species due to changing latitudinal conditions. His presentation underscored the necessity for evolving approaches to lake management in response to these profound ecological shifts.

[gallery link="none" size="medium" columns="2" ids="14984,14982"] Download the complete presentation now!

Dr. Fred Lubnow, Senior Technical Director of Ecological Services, presented "A Survey of the Ecology of Select Lakes and Ponds in Central Park, NYC," which provided an insightful overview of Princeton Hydro's water quality and ecological monitoring efforts conducted across lakes and ponds of Central Park from 2020 to 2023 for the Central Park Conservancy. These assessments revealed elevated nutrient levels driving planktonic algae, filamentous mat algae and in some cases high densities of aquatic plants, prompting the Central Park Conservancy and Princeton Hydro to collaborate on a tailored Management Plan. Fred’s presentation spotlighted the distinct ecological profiles of key sites, addressed the impact of cyanobacteria on both ecological dynamics and recreational usage, and provided practical management methods and techniques.

[gallery link="none" size="medium" columns="2" ids="14961,14983"] Download the complete presentation now!

Additional educational session topics included, Environmental Justice and New York Lakes, Community Leadership for Healthy Lakes in New York State, and iMap Invasive Species Workshop. Click here to view the complete agenda.

Founded in 1983, NYSFOLA is a not-for-profit coalition of lake associations, individuals, and corporate members dedicated to the protection and restoration of New York lakes. Princeton Hydro is the industry leader in lake restoration and watershed management. We have conducted diagnostic studies and have developed management and restoration plans for over 300+ lakes and watersheds throughout the country. Our long-standing partnership with NYSFOLA as a corporate member, annual conference sponsor, and active participant highlights our unwavering commitment to collaborative initiatives aimed at safeguarding our water resources. To learn more about our lake and natural resource management services and how we're contributing to a healthier environment, click here. 

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In recognition of World Water Day on March 22, it's important to acknowledge and explore the challenges affecting our freshwater ecosystems. In this blog post, we explore one of those said challenges: Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs).

HABs, characterized by rapid overgrowths of cyanobacteria, have increasingly drawn attention due to their detrimental effects on water quality and aquatic ecosystems. With the onset of spring, rising temperatures create favorable conditions for cyanobacteria growth, setting the stage for potential bloom occurrences in the months ahead. Over recent summers, lakes and freshwater bodies across the nation have faced closures and health advisories due to HAB outbreaks, underscoring the urgent need to address this issue.

Cyanobacteria, often referred to as blue-green algae, are naturally occurring microorganisms in aquatic environments. However, under specific conditions—such as warm temperatures and nutrient-rich waters—these organisms can proliferate rapidly, forming blooms that pose risks to the health of humans, wildlife and aquatic species, local economies and overall ecological balance.

[gallery link="none" ids="11577,11570,11565"]

The interplay between climate change and HABs is undeniable: Rising temperatures and altered precipitation patterns create favorable conditions for cyanobacteria growth, exacerbating bloom occurrences. The absence of snow cover and early ice melt further accelerates this process, allowing cyanobacteria to flourish earlier in the year. Over the past few summers, lakes and fresh-waterbodies across the nation experienced closures and health advisories as a result of HAB outbreaks, emphasizing the urgency of addressing this issue.

In light of these challenges, proactive measures are crucial for mitigating the impacts of HABs. Early sampling efforts, initiated as early as March or April, enable the detection of cyanobacteria and akinetes, dormant spores that contribute to bloom formation. Additionally, reducing nutrient inputs, particularly phosphorus, into waterways is essential for preventing HABs.

As we reflect on the significance of water resources on World Water Day, it’s imperative to recognize the importance of addressing threats such as HABs. By raising awareness, fostering collaboration, and implementing effective strategies, we can work towards safeguarding the health and sustainability of our freshwater ecosystems.

In this spirit, we invite you to join the conversation at the Harmful Algal Bloom Summit 2024, hosted by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. This virtual seminar, taking place on March 27, is free to attend and offers a platform for stakeholders to exchange insights, discuss best practices, and explore innovative solutions for managing HABs.

This year's Summit, which is titled “Unlocking the Puzzle of Harmful Algal Blooms," includes a keynote address and three educational sessions - "Growth Through Reflection: Lessons Learned," "Innovative Tools and Applications," and "Beyond the Numbers" - each featuring a variety of expert presentations. Princeton Hydro Senior Technical Director of Ecological Services Dr. Fred Lubnow is presenting on "Quantifying Overwintering Cyanobacteria and How They May Impact the Monitoring and Management of HABs."

Get more information and register here.


As we commemorate World Water Day 2024, let us reflect on the interconnectedness of water and life. Small actions taken today can have a profound impact on preserving water quality for future generations. Join us in making a commitment to promote and do our part to support a sustainable future for our freshwater ecosystems.

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On July 31, 2023, renowned limnologist Dr. Robert Evan Carlson passed away after his battle with Parkinson’s disease and multiple myeloma. Below is a statement by Princeton Hydro’s Senior Technical Director of Ecological Services, Dr. Fred S. Lubnow, who speaks for all of us at Princeton Hydro, on the legacy that Dr. Carlson left on the field of limnology.


[caption id="attachment_13572" align="alignright" width="378"]Headshot of Dr. Robert Evans Carlson Photo credit: Legacy.com[/caption]

“The field of limnology, and ecology in general, recently lost one of its greats with the passing of Dr. Robert Evan Carlson. His contributions to the fields of limnology and lake management were numerous, but he is best known for the development of the Carlson Trophic State Index (TSI). This is an internationally accepted protocol of assessing the health of lakes, ponds, and reservoirs that is used by everyone - from lake associations and ecological consultants to local, state, and federal governments - as a means of determining both declines in water quality due to increased nutrient loading and/or climate change, and improvements through watershed management and in-lake control measures.

As mentioned in his obituary, Dr. Carlson created the Secchi Dip-in, which is an annual summer event where volunteers measure the clarity of lakes throughout North America to develop a database on the overall health and status of our inland waterbodies. This program has grown to be a staple during Lakes Appreciation Month in July, and his tradition will continue on in every sample collected by volunteers.

As both a professor at Kent State University and an environmental consultant through his company Clearwater Environmental Consulting, Inc., Bob was an incredible source of information on measures to restore, protect, and preserve our aquatic ecosystems. On a personal note, I have met and spoken with Bob from time to time at the North American Lake Management Society’s annual conferences, and he was always willing to discuss and share his knowledge on lakes. Bob was always very friendly and generated a passion for freshwater ecology and management that was contagious. Bob will be sorely missed, but his legacy will live on as the TSI is widely used and the Great Secchi Dip-In continues in the future! Rest in Peace.”


A celebration of his life will be held on Saturday, November 4, 2023 at 2:00 PM at the Kent United Church of Christ, 1400 E. Main St. Kent, OH 44240. Donations in Bob’s memory can be made to the Dr. Robert E. Carlson Scholarship in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Kent State University. This scholarship offers stipends for students to travel to professional conferences, reflecting his passion for helping students in their studies and professional careers. Gifts to this scholarship fund can be made payable to The Kent State University Foundation and sent to The Kent State University Foundation, Attn: Gift Processing; P.O. Box 5190, 350 S. Lincoln St.,  Kent, Ohio 44242.

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400 native plants were installed along the western shoreline of Memorial Pond in Mount Arlington, New Jersey. The planting was completed in one day by a team of 20+ volunteers, staff members from Mt. Arlington Department of Public Works (DPW), Lake Hopatcong Foundation, Lake Hopatcong Commission, Princeton Hydro, and a generous community member who volunteered his excavating equipment (and time).

The planting initiative aims to prevent shoreline erosion, promote the growth of native species, increase wildlife habitat, and improve the water quality of Memorial Pond and Lake Hopatcong. Funding for this project was secured through a grant from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, awarded to the Lake Hopatcong Commission in partnership with the Lake Hopatcong Foundation.

[caption id="attachment_13422" align="aligncenter" width="616"] Photo by Lake Hopatcong Foundation Executive Director Kyle Richter[/caption]

Memorial Pond

Drainage Area Aerial Map of Mt. Arlington Memorial Beach and Memorial Park in New Jersey. Created by Princeton Hydro.Memorial Pond is a 0.3-acre stormwater runoff basin that gradually releases into Glen Brook, which then flows into Lake Hopatcong. The pond receives sheet flow of stormwater from the adjacent road, which contributes to nutrient and sediment loading, thus locally reducing water quality in Memorial Pond and ultimately the waters of Lake Hopatcong.

Memorial Park, which includes Memorial Pond and Glen Brook, was identified by Princeton Hydro and the Lake Hopatcong team as a priority site for improvement, targeting initiatives that reduce pollutants and excessive nutrients entering into Lake Hopatcong.

Additionally, the pond’s steeply-sloped shoreline was bare and only stabilized with large rocks at the base of the banks. In the absence of stabilizing vegetation, the pond’s banks were experiencing erosion, and there was some concern about a few mature trees along the shoreline potentially falling into the pond.

[gallery link="none" ids="13416,13407,13413"]

The photos above were taken in April 2023 before the planting initiative.


Shoreline Planting Initiative

The plant selection and layout were designed taking into account the steep slope and presence of mature, existing trees as well as focusing on regionally native plant species that will thrive and help stabilize the eroding shoreline. The planting team, led by Princeton Hydro Landscape Architect Jamie Feinstein, RLA and Aquatics Project Manager Pat Rose, was given precise instructions on how to install the plants to eliminate washouts and ensure the root systems can embrace the soil and hold it in place.

A variety of native herbaceous plants and shrubs were chosen for the site, including pennsylvania sedge, slender mountain mint, blue flag iris, sweet azalea, smooth hydrangea, and maple-leaved viburnum.

[gallery link="none" ids="13427,13421,13428"]

The plants will help reduce stormwater flow, absorb excess nutrients, prevent erosion, and ultimately decrease sedimentation to the pond, while creating a visually pleasing addition to the park and providing a habitat for pollinators and birds. Overall, this project promotes a healthier and more balanced ecosystem in Memorial Park.

[gallery link="none" ids="13400,13392,13394"]

The photos above were taken in July 2023 immediately after the planting initiative.


Multi-Faceted Approach to Water Quality Improvements

The installation of these beneficial plants is part of a series of water quality initiatives on Lake Hopatcong funded by a NJDEP Freshwater Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) Prevention & Management Grant and 319(h) Grant awarded to Lake Hopatcong Commission in partnership with the Lake Hopatcong Foundation.

Additional initiatives included in the watershed implementation and HABs management plan are, the installation of:

  • floating wetland island (FWI), which are a low-cost, effective green infrastructure solution designed to mimic natural wetlands in a sustainable, efficient, and powerful way. FWIs improve water quality by assimilating and removing excess nutrients; provide valuable ecological habitat for a variety of beneficial species; help mitigate wave and wind erosion impacts; provide an aesthetic element; and add significant biodiversity enhancement within open freshwater environments;

  • biochar filtration bags, which improve water quality by removing phosphorus from waterbodies. Biochar can be placed in floatation balls, cages, or sacks, which are then tethered along the shoreline and in critical locations throughout the waterbody; and

  • nanobubble aeration system, which increases the concentrations of dissolved oxygen in the water, prevents stagnation of water, increases circulation, disrupts thermal stratification which provides “through-column” mixing, and minimizes the occurrence of HABs.

“Paired with biochar filters attached to buoys in the pond and continued monitoring and maintenance of the plantings by the DPW, these steps will set a healthy precedent for what can be achieved through working together with funders, local partners, science, and landscape architecture,” said Feinstein, who sourced plant material, provided logistics and co-led the planning and volunteer planting event along with Rose.

Princeton Hydro's Landscape Architect, Cory Speroff PLA, ASLA, CBLP, designed the planting plan, and Will Kelleher and Jackson Tilves from the Aquatics Team participated in the plant installation event with Feinstein.

Princeton Hydro is also authoring and supplying a maintenance manual that provides guidance on seasonal care of the plantings, when to remove the herbivory protection fencing, pruning, watering, and other activities that support the long term success of the planting initiative. 

“This collaborative effort to enhance water quality serves as a prime example of how seemingly simple actions can have a meaningful impact on safeguarding our water resources for the benefit of future generations,” said the Lake Hopatcong Foundation.

[gallery link="none" ids="13403,13429,13393"]

The photos above from left to right: June 2023 before the planting; July 2023 during the planting (photo by Lake Hopatcong Foundation Executive Director Kyle Richter); and July 2023 immediately after the planting.


Princeton Hydro has been working on Lake Hopatcong, New Jersey’s largest Lake, for 30+ years, restoring the lake, managing the watershed, reducing pollutant loading, and addressing invasive aquatic plants and nuisance algal blooms. To read about some of the other projects we’ve recently worked on at Lake Hopatcong, click here.

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When we hear about harmful algal bloom (HAB) outbreaks, like those recently spotted in New Jersey, the first thoughts that come to mind usually involve discolored waters, environmental disruption, closed beaches, and potential human health hazards. Yet, a crucial aspect that often escapes the spotlight is the impact of these blooms on animals, including pets, wildlife, and livestock.

As HABs proliferate due to factors like excess nutrients and warming waters, the impacts ripple across a wide spectrum of living things, encompassing everything from aquatic species to humans to our animal companions, working animals, and livestock. Animals are most at risk because they may bathe/swim in affected water, drink contaminated water, or ingest it when cleaning algae from fur/hair coat, and the symptoms of HABs toxicity can go unnoticed for a period of time.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) released a new factsheet that specifically provides an array of information and techniques to safeguard livestock from the dangers of HABs. 

In this blog, we provide links to the USDA NRCS's newly released informational resources, shed light on the often-unseen consequences of HABs, and outline steps to protect the four-legged members of our agricultural communities.


Deciphering HABs

HABs are rapid, large overgrowths of cyanobacteria. Cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae, aren’t actually algae, they are prokaryotes, single-celled aquatic organisms that are closely related to bacteria and can photosynthesize like algae. These microorganisms are a natural part of aquatic ecosystems, but, under the right conditions (e.g., heavy rains followed by hot, sunny days), these organisms can rapidly increase to form HABs. Climate change is leading to more frequent, more intense rainstorms that drive run-off pollutants into waterways, coupled with more hot days that increase the water temperature, creating the ideal environment for HABs to proliforate.  In recent years, HABs have begun to appear in more places, earlier in the summer.

[caption id="attachment_13363" align="aligncenter" width="1230"]Nutrient sources of HABs. Illustration created by USGS. Nutrient sources of HABs. Illustration created by USGS. Click image to enlarge.[/caption]  

HABs can cause significant water quality issues in lakes and ponds, often forming a visible and sometimes odorous scum on the surface of the water. They can produce toxins that are incredibly harmful (even deadly) to humans, aquatic organisms, and animals, including livestock.


Mitigating Livestock Exposure to HABs

The health impacts and symptoms can vary depending on the size and type of animal, how an animal is exposed to the cyanotoxin, how long they were exposed, which type of toxin was present, and how much toxin was present.

Symptoms of cyanotoxin exposure in animals includes: vomiting, profuse salivation, fatigue, unsteady gait, labored breathing, convulsions, and liver malfunction. When animals bathe or swim in waters with even low concentrations of cyanotoxins, it may cause skin rashes, ear/throat infections, and gastrointestinal distress. In severe cases, especially when contaminated water is ingested, HAB poisoning can prove fatal.

When HABs are present in a waterbody that is accessible to and utilized by livestock, it's important to immediately restrict access to the contaminated water. If a potential exposure to cyanotoxins has occurred, NRCS recommends:

  1. Washing animals with clean water and monitoring for symptoms of exposure to cyanotoxins.
  2. Isolating any animals exhibiting symptoms and seeking veterinary care as soon as possible.
  3. Providing animals with an alternative source of fresh, safe drinking water.
  4. Contacting the appropriate state agency for sampling and testing guidance to test the water source for HABs and cyanotoxins. Please note: It is not safe for landowners to sample the water themselves without proper personal protective equipment and procedures.
  5. Visiting the CDC website for further information, or contacting your state/county health department.

In its newly released fact sheet, NRCS also provides a number of ideas for segregating livestock from tainted waters, reducing the risk of livestock exposure to HABs, and providing alternate water sources, including:

  1. Installing protective fencing (Conservation Practice 382)
  2. Constructing purposeful ponds (Conservation Practice 378)
  3. Implementing access control measures (Conservation Practice 472)
  4. Establishing reliable water wells (Conservation Practice 642)
  5. Designing effective watering facilities (Conservation Practice 614)
To download the USDA NRCS fact sheet, click below:

To minimize the risk of future HABs, it's important to stay informed, routinely monitor waterbodies, take actions to reduce harmful effects, and adopt conservation practices that prevent nutrient loading to waterbodies.

Princeton Hydro is regionally recognized for its HABs expertise, having provided management recommendations and services for 100+ lakes and ponds in the Northeast, including Lake Hopatcong, New Jersey’s largest lake. To learn more about our lake management and HABs prevention services, click here. For additional HABs resources from the USDA NRCS, click here.

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July is Lakes Appreciation Month! This national initiative was started in 1998 by the North American Lake Management Society (NALMS) with the goal of illuminating the value and importance of lakes and reservoirs, and encouraging people to take action in appreciating and protecting our precious water resources.

We’ve put together five tips to help you celebrate:

1. Embrace your Lake.

"Aeration System" by Chris Mikolajczyk, Photo Contest Submission  

Discover, Capture, and Share the Joy of Lakes Appreciation! Whether you're a birding enthusiast, a photography pro, a boating lover, a paddle-boarding champ, or someone who enjoys leisurely strolls, it's time get lakeside to enjoy your favorite activities. Stay in the loop with your local lake association's calendar and discover fun community events. If you're in the Berks County, Pennsylvania area, join PALMS on July 14 at Blue Marsh Lake for their community sunset paddle and float event. Capture your lake love and spread the joy - share your adventure photos on social media using #LakesAppreciation and inspire others to embrace lake appreciation too! Whatever fun adventure you choose, always remember to respect our natural landscape and treat it with care. Click here for a few tips to help you enjoy your Lakes Appreciation Month outings responsibly and sustainably. 


2. Take the Family BINGO Challenge.

Bingo Card designed by NALMS to celebrate Lakes Appreciation Month

To encourage everyone in the family to get outside together and enjoy the lakes that surround them, NALMS is  created a family BINGO Challenge game. The BINGO board features a variety of activities, like "Have a picnic at your favorite lake," "Go wildlife or bird watching," and "Pick up trash around your favorite lake." As you complete each activity,  you mark the square with an X. Once you complete all activities in a row or diagonally, you get “BINGO." Fill the card completely for maximum lake appreciation! This simple game is designed to stir creativity, curiosity and action, and is intended to act as  a reminder for us all to pause and appreciate something we often take for granted. Play it, share it, and enjoy!


3. Support Your Local Lake Association.

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In celebration of Lakes Appreciation Month, lake associations nationwide are hosting family-fun events, volunteer opportunities and community gatherings. On July 14, Pennsylvania Lake Management Society invites you to join them at Blue Marsh Lake for a community sunset paddle/float. On July 20 at the Stone Water lakefront restaurant, Lake Hopatcong Foundation is hosting its 11th Anniversary Gala & Auction, which aims to bring together community members who are passionate about Lake Hopatcong, to have fun and raise funds critically needed to protect the environment and enhance the experience on and around Lake Hopatcong. Organize a community trash pick-up day at a nearby lake or get in touch with your local lake association to find out how you can get involved.


4. Join the National Secchi Dip-In.

The “Secchi Dip-In” is an annual citizen science event where lake-goers and associations across North America use a simple Secchi disk to monitor the transparency or turbidity of their local waterway. Created and managed by NALMS, volunteers have been submitting information during the annual Dip-In since 1994. NALMS invites you to join this international effort to track changes in water quality! Get all the Dip-In details here. And, for detailed instructions for how to use a Secchi disk, check out our tutorial.


5. Monitor Your Lake & Report HABs.

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In addition to the Secchi Dip-In, you can support your favorite lake by identifying and reporting harmful algal blooms (HABs) and invasive species. And, the bloomWatch App is a great educational resource and tracking tool! By using the app on your smartphone, you can contribute to a nationwide community science program dedicated to tracking and documenting the occurrence of potential HABs. Click here for a brief video on how to use the bloomWatch app. And, for more information about HABs, click here to view a presentation given by Dr. Fred Lubnow at the NALMS 42nd Annual International Symposium.


Click here to learn about NALMS and get more ideas on how to celebrate your local lakes.

Princeton Hydro provides a broad range of award-winning lake management services. Click here to read about our work to reduce HABs and increase biodiversity in Lake Latonka, a 260-acre man-made freshwater lake in Mercer County, Pennsylvania.

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Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) represent the rapid proliferation of cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae. While cyanobacteria are not technically algae but rather single-celled aquatic organisms related to bacteria, they possess the ability to photosynthesize like algae. These tiny microorganisms naturally inhabit aquatic ecosystems. However, under specific circumstances, such as heavy rainfall followed by scorching sunshine, they can rapidly multiply, resulting in the formation of cyanobacteria blooms, commonly known as HABs.

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Environmental and Economic Impact of HABs

HABs can wreak havoc on waterbodies, leading to significant water quality issues and the unsightly appearance of surface scum, sometimes accompanied by unpleasant odors. The consequences extend beyond aesthetics and pose economic challenges for communities reliant on local lakes and waterways for jobs and tourism. Furthermore, HABs can produce highly toxic substances that pose serious risks to humans, aquatic life, and animals, including our beloved pets, wildlife, and livestock.


HAB Impacts on Wildlife and Pets

The effects of HABs on animals vary depending on factors such as the animal's size, exposure to cyanobacteria, duration of exposure, specific toxin types, and concentrations. Animals are often the first victims, drawn to bodies of water containing cyanobacteria due to their natural instincts. Dogs, in particular, are vulnerable as they may unwittingly ingest contaminated water during play. Livestock and wildlife are also at risk when drinking from contaminated water sources.

Husky in lake with tennis ball in her mouth

In 2021, researchers published a groundbreaking study linking cyanobacteria-generated neurotoxins to the deaths of eagles and waterbirds. After extensive research spanning three decades, scientists determined that cyanotoxins are responsible for a fatal neurological disease called vacuolar myelinopathy, commonly affecting waterbirds, raptors, and bald eagles.


Recognizing the Symptoms

Cyanobacterial poisoning symptoms can manifest within minutes to a few hours, depending on the severity of exposure. Dogs, in particular, may exhibit symptoms rapidly. Common signs include an accelerated heart rate, breathing difficulties, excessive salivation, disorientation or depression, vomiting or diarrhea, skin irritations, and neurological symptoms such as muscle weakness, dizziness, seizures, or paralysis.

It is crucial to seek immediate veterinary care or contact the Poison Control Center if you suspect your pet or livestock may be experiencing symptoms caused by harmful algae, cyanobacteria, or their toxins. The following 24-hour pet poison hotlines are available for assistance:

  • Animal Poison Control Center: (800)-213-6680
  • ASPCA: (888) 426-4435

Protecting Yourself and Your Pets

Dog is pond with blue sky and clouds in the backgroundTo protect your pets and livestock, avoid letting them come into contact with surface scums or heavily discolored water. In case of exposure, rinse them with clean water as soon as possible, as HABs can cling to their fur and pose health risks when they groom themselves. This is particularly important because certain HABs release fast-acting nerve toxins that can be especially dangerous for dogs swimming in affected areas.

Here are some additional steps you can take to safeguard yourself and your pets from the harmful effects of algae and cyanobacteria:

  • Prior to swimming or fishing, check for advisories or warnings.
  • Refrain from engaging in water activities if you notice unpleasant smells, abnormal discoloration, foamy scum, or dead fish present in the water.
  • If you come across a bloom or suspect its presence, keep yourself, your pets, and livestock away from the water.
  • Remember the CDC's advice: "When in doubt, stay out."

By staying informed and implementing necessary precautions, we can protect ourselves, our pets, and the environment from the risks associated with HABs. For further HABs related information and guidance, click here to watch a Facebook Live presentation with Princeton Hydro HABs experts. To get involved with monitoring and tracking harmful algal blooms, check out the bloomWatch App, a valuable tool for identifying and reporting potential HAB sightings to local authorities.

Artwork that features a dog and a waterbody that is dark green and heavily impacted by harmful algal blooms. The text reads "Protect Pets Against HABs"

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This article, written by Princeton Hydro team members, was recently published in the ANJEC Report, a quarterly magazine published by the Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions.

Our lakes in New Jersey are an invaluable resource for clean drinking water, outdoor recreation, and agriculture and provide habitat for aquatic flora and fauna. Home to about 1,700 lakes, the “Garden State” is also the most densely populated state. Excess nutrients from fertilizers, roadway pollutants, overdevelopment, and failing septic systems can end up in our lakes and impair water quality. Larger rain events can also cause erosion and instability of streams, adding to the influx of more excess nutrients to our lakes and ponds. Changes in hydrology, water chemistry, biology, and/or physical properties in these complex ecosystems can have cascading consequences that can alter water quality and the surrounding ecosystem. For example, excess nutrients can fuel algal and plant growth in lakes and lead to issues like harmful algal blooms (HABs) or fish kills.

In order to ensure that we protect the overall health of our local waterbodies, it’s important that we look beyond just the lake itself. Implementing holistic watershed-based planning is a critical step in managing stormwater runoff, preventing the spread of HABs, and maintaining water quality. A watershed management plan defines and addresses existing or future water quality problems from both point sources and nonpoint sources of pollutants*. This approach addresses all the beneficial uses of a waterbody, the criteria needed to protect the use, and the strategies required to restore water quality or prevent degradation. When developing a watershed plan, we review all the tools in the toolbox and recommend a variety of best management practices to prevent nutrients from entering lakes or streams. Options include short- and long-term solutions such as green stormwater infrastructure, stream bank stabilization, and stormwater basin retrofits.

To reduce nutrient availability in lakes, one innovative tool in our toolbox is floating wetland islands (FWIs). FWIs are a low-cost, effective green infrastructure solution that are designed to mimic natural wetlands in a sustainable, efficient, and powerful way. They improve water quality by assimilating and removing excess nutrients; provide valuable ecological habitat for a variety of beneficial species; help mitigate wave and wind erosion impacts; provide an aesthetic element; and add significant biodiversity enhancement within open freshwater environments. FWIs are also highly effective in a range of waterbodies from big to small, from deep to shallow.

[caption id="attachment_4363" align="aligncenter" width="631"]This illustration, created by Staff Scientist Ivy Babson, conveys the functionality of a Floating Wetland Island This illustration, sketched by Princeton Hydro Staff Scientist Ivy Babson, conveys the functionality of a floating wetland island.[/caption]  

Typically, FWIs consist of a constructed floating mat, usually composed of woven, recycled plastic material, with vegetation planted directly into the material. The islands are then launched into the lake and anchored in place, and, once established, require very little maintenance.

It estimated that one 250-square-foot FWI has a surface area equal to approximately one acre of natural wetland. These floating ecosystems can remove approximately 10 pounds of phosphorus each year. To put that into perspective, one pound of phosphorus can produce 1,100 pounds of algae each year, so each 250-square-feet of FWI can potentially mitigate up to 11,000 pounds of algae.

In addition to removing phosphorus that can feed nuisance aquatic plant growth and algae, FWIs also provide excellent refuge habitat for beneficial forage fish and can provide protection from shoreline erosion.

Let's take a look at some examples of FWIs in action:

Lake Hopatcong

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Princeton Hydro has been working with Lake Hopatcong, New Jersey’s largest Lake, for 30+ years, restoring the lake, managing the watershed, reducing pollutant loading, and addressing invasive aquatic plants and nuisance algal blooms. Back in 2012, Lake Hopatcong became the first public lake in New Jersey to install FWIs. In the summer of 2022, nine more FWIs were installed in the lake with help from staff and volunteers from the Lake Hopatcong Foundation, Lake Hopatcong Commission, and Princeton Hydro. The lake’s Landing Channel and Ashley Cove were chosen for the installations because they are both fairly shallow and prone to weed growth. The installation of these floating wetland islands is part of a series of water quality initiatives on Lake Hopatcong funded by a NJDEP Harmful Algal Bloom Grant and 319(h) Grant awarded to Lake Hopatcong Commission and Lake Hopatcong Foundation.


Greenwood Lake

floating wetland island installation on greenwood lake in new jersey

Princeton Hydro partnered with the Greenwood Lake Commission (GWLC) on a FWI installation in Belcher's Creek, the main tributary of Greenwood Lake. The lake, a 1,920-acre waterbody located in both New Jersey and New York, is a highly valued ecological, economical, and recreational resource. The lake also serves as a headwater supply of potable water that flows to the Monksville Reservoir and eventually into the Wanaque Reservoir, where it supplies over 3 million people with drinking water.

The goal of the FWI Installation was to help decrease total phosphorus loading, improve water quality, and create important habitat for beneficial aquatic, insect, bird, and wildlife species. The project was partially funded by the NJDEP Water Quality Restoration Grants for Nonpoint Source Pollution Program under Section 319(h) of the federal Clean Water Act. GWLC was awarded one of NJDEP’s matching grants, which provided $2 in funding for every $1 invested by the grant applicant.


Harveys Lake

Volunteers install native plants in one of the FWIs installed in Harveys Lake. Photo by: Mark Moran, The Citizen’s Voice.

Measuring 630+ acres, Harveys Lake is the largest natural lake (by volume) in Pennsylvania and is one of the most heavily used lakes in the area. It is classified as a high quality - cold water fishery habitat (HQ-CWF) and is designated for protection under the classification. Since 2002, The Borough of Harveys Lake and Harveys Lake Environmental Advisory Council has worked with Princeton Hydro on a variety of lake management efforts focused around maintaining high water quality conditions, strengthening stream banks and shorelines, and managing stormwater runoff. Five floating wetland islands were installed in Harveys Lake to assimilate and reduce nutrients already in the lake. The islands were placed in areas with high concentrations of nutrients, placed 50 feet from the shoreline and tethered in place with steel cables and anchored. The FWIs were funded by PADEP.


Wesley Lake and Sunset Lake

Working with the Deal Lake Commission (DLC), Princeton Hydro designed and installed 12 floating wetland islands at two lakes in Asbury Park, NJ. In order to complete the installation of the floating wetland islands, our team worked with the DLC to train and assist over 30 volunteers to plant plugs in the islands and launch them into the two lakes. Our experts helped disseminate knowledge to the volunteers, not only about how to install the floating wetland islands, but how they scientifically worked to remove excess nutrients from the water. With assistance from Princeton Hydro, DLC acquired the 12 floating islands – six for Wesley Lake and six for Sunset Lake – through a Clean Water Act Section 319(h) grant awarded by NJDEP.


In addition to the direct environmental benefits of FWIs, the planting events themselves, which usually involve individuals from the local lake communities, have long-lasting positive impacts. When community members come together to help plant FWIs, it gives them a deepened sense of ownership and strengthens their connection to the lake. This, in turn, encourages continued stewardship of the watershed and creates a broader awareness of how human behaviors impact the lake and its water quality. And, real water quality improvements begin at the watershed level with how people treat their land.

For more information on watershed planning or installing FWI in your community, click here to contact us. To learn more about ANJEC, go here.

- *U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 2008. Handbook for Developing Watershed Plans to Restore and Protect Our Waters.

[post_title] => Floating Wetland Islands: An Effective, Affordable, and Sustainable Lake Management Tool [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => floating-wetland-islands-anjec-2023 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2023-08-14 10:41:41 [post_modified_gmt] => 2023-08-14 10:41:41 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://princetonhydro.com/?p=12609 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [9] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 12419 [post_author] => 1 [post_date] => 2023-03-17 18:44:47 [post_date_gmt] => 2023-03-17 18:44:47 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_12423" align="aligncenter" width="901"] Harveys Lake, Luzerne County, PA in February 2023 (Photo by Jason Miller)[/caption]   By Dr. Fred Lubnow, Senior Technical Director of Ecological Services

The Winter of 2022 – 2023 is turning out to be a mild one, at least in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. Anecdotally, there has been no measurable amount of snowfall in 2023 as of early March. In northeastern Pennsylvania, January and February 2023 mean monthly temperatures were 9.6 and 7.5 degrees warmer relative to their long-term respective average values. In northern New Jersey, January and February 2023 mean monthly temperatures were 11.9 and 5.6 degrees warmer relative to their respective long-term average values (Northeast Regional Climate Center CLIMOD database).

[caption id="attachment_12421" align="alignleft" width="239"] Lake Hopatcong, Sussex – Morris Counties, NJ (Photo by Donna Macalle-Holly, Lake Hopatcong Foundation)[/caption]

This has had a profound impact on lake ecosystems. For example, in early 2023, both Harveys Lake (Luzerne County, PA) and Lake Hopatcong (Morris and Sussex Counties, NJ) have had no lake-wide ice cover. While measurable amounts of both snowfall and ice cover are still possible in the remaining weeks of March, it highly unlikely that such conditions would persist for weeks. Such ice-free conditions on our lakes, ponds and reservoirs will certainly have a profound impact on these ecosystems as we move into the 2023 growing season.

Algae May Grow Earlier in the Season

Undoubtably, current conditions are at a minimum partially attributed to climate change and will have a direct impact on the upcoming 2023 growing season. In the absence of ice, and more importantly snow-cover over the ice, aquatic plants and algae can begin to grow earlier in the season. Some plants, such as the invasive species curly-leaved pondweed (Potamogeton crispus), prefer cooler temperatures and tend to attain their highest densities in the spring and early summer. However, under such ice-free conditions, we have seen curly-leaved pondweed growing along the bottom of New Jersey lakes as early as February. This can result in more nuisance plant densities earlier in the year.

While most cyanobacteria, the group of algae known to have the potential to produce cyanotoxins, tend to attain their maximum growth and biomass over the hot summer months, there are several genera that are more tolerant of cool temperatures. For example, one filamentous genus, Aphanizomenon, is one of the first cyanobacteria to appear in the plankton in the spring. Indeed, over the last few years Aphanizomenon has been appearing earlier in the year and at higher densities in many of the lakes monitored and managed by Princeton Hydro. Another cyanobacteria known to bloom in cooler waters is Coelosphaerium. Coupled with slightly warmer temperatures over the late winter and early spring, cyanobacteria blooms could become more common and larger in magnitude, earlier in the year. Such blooms are frequently called Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs).

Many cyanobacteria produce resting spores called akinetes during conditions of environmental stress, such as colder temperatures and desiccation. These akinetes settle to the bottom and are re-activated as water temperatures increase. Warmer late winter and early spring temperatures, particular over the sediments, could mean more akinetes actively growing into vegetative cells earlier in the growing season.

Milder Winters Could Lead to New Invasive Species

[caption id="attachment_12439" align="alignright" width="476"] At a lake in Somerset County on March 7, 2023, Spirogyra (a green mat algae that prefers cold waters) is present and curly-leaved pondweed is already growing and well established. Photo by Princeton Hydro.[/caption]

Last year (2022), was the first time that the cyanobacteria Cylindrospermopsis was identified in Lake Hopatcong. In fact, this genus was the most abundant cyanobacteria in Lake Hopatcong during our July and August sampling events, but was no longer found by the early October sampling event. The Cylindrospermopsis found in Lake Hopatcong may be an invasive species that historically has been found in tropic and subtropic waterbodies. However, over the years, this cyanobacterium has been found in temperate waterbodies. Milder and warmer winters may mean more invasive species such as Cylindrospermopsis appearing in Mid-Atlantic waterbodies.

What Should You Do?

In the absence of ice and snow-cover to put the sediments in the dark and prevent photosynthesis, coupled with warmer temperatures in the late winter and early spring, may lead to more aquatic plant and algal growth earlier in the year. So what should be done about this?

1. Sample Early: March or April

First, we recommend initiating sampling earlier in the year, sometime in March or April; do not wait until May to begin sampling. Second, in addition to sampling the surface waters, sampling should also be conducted in near-shore areas, immediately above sediments and at the sediment-water interface. Samples should be examined under the microscope for the presence of akinetes and/or inactive colonies of cyanobacteria. Third, near-shore areas should also be surveyed for the presence of submerged, aquatic plants, in particular invasive species such as curly-leaved pondweed or hydrilla.

2. Encourage Residents to Reduce Nutrients Entering the Waterway

Finally, while most climate models indicate that HABs will more than likely increase in warmer conditions, the magnitude of this response will be strongly dependent on the availability of nutrients, in particular phosphorus. While phosphorus will drive the growth of cyanobacteria, the availability of external sources of nitrogen can increase the probability of a HAB producing cyanotoxins such as microcystins, which is a nitrogen “heavy” molecule.

Thus, if colonies of cyanobacteria or akinetes are found in the sediments over the spring, the lake community and stakeholders should be informed and efforts should be implemented to reduce the availability of nutrients such as using non-phosphorus fertilizers, picking up pet wastes, goose management, routine pump-outs of septic systems once every three years, where possible stabilize exposed soil by planting native vegetation and consider the use of green infrastructure such as rain gardens. By letting the community know that cyanobacteria may be lurking on the sediments over the spring season, it may mobilize efforts to implement both in-lake and watershed measures to minimize the potential development of HABs.


Princeton Hydro provides pond and lake management and monitoring services to hundreds of waterbodies in the Northeast.  If you would like to learn more about our services for your community, please send us a message through our website.

Dr. Fred Lubnow, Princeton Hydro's Senior Technical Director, Ecological Services, is an expert in aquatic and watershed management, restoration ecology, community and ecosystem ecology, and the use of benthic macroinvertebrate and fish in-stream bioassessment protocols. Dr. Lubnow has managed hundreds of lake projects and provides technical expertise for a variety of lake and watershed restoration projects.

His experience in lake and reservoir restoration includes the design and implementation of dredging, aeration, chemical control of nuisance species, nutrient inactivation (i.e. alum) and biomanipulation. His experience in watershed restoration includes the design and implementation of structural Best Management Practices (BMPs), the development of Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) pollutant budgets, and the design, implementation and analysis of watershed-based monitoring programs.

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The New Jersey Highlands Water Protection and Planning Council (Highlands Council) awarded Somerset County with a $59,150 planning grant to support the implementation of a Watershed Management Program for two of its parks: Lord Stirling Park in Bernards Township and Leonard J. Buck Gardens in Far Hills Borough.

The grant will be distributed specifically to Somerset County Engineering on behalf of the Somerset County Park Foundation (SCPF), which submitted a Scope of Work prepared by Princeton Hydro to develop a Somerset County Parks Watershed Management Program.

“We are grateful for this grant, which will help Somerset County continue its commitment to preserving the ecosystem,” said Somerset County Park Commission Secretary-Director Geoffrey Soriano. “Healthy watersheds support biodiversity, protect nutrients in the soil, decrease carbon emissions, foster the growth of flora and fauna, and help control flooding. All of this is vital for a healthy environment.”

The program's Scope of Work includes:

  • The review and analysis of historical watershed assessment data;
  • Bathymetric surveys, which map the water depth and the amount of accumulated unconsolidated sediment in each of the water bodies;
  • The development of watershed pollutant loading and hydrologic models, which will help identify and prioritize future stormwater management activities; and
  • Water quality assessments and the collection of stream and lake-based water quality data.

"We're thrilled to be partnered with Somerset County Engineering and Somerset County Parks on this important initiative to bring together, under one holistic management plan, the lakes within these public parks located in the Highlands Region," said Princeton Hydro’s Senior Project Manager - Aquatics, Christopher Mikolajczyk, who is a Certified Lake Manager and lead designer for this initiative. "Taking a regional approach to watershed management is a forward-thinking way to improve water quality, manage stormwater, and mitigate harmful algal blooms throughout the Highlands Region of New Jersey.”

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The Highlands Council is a regional planning agency that works in partnership with both municipalities and counties in the Highlands Region to help those communities take a proactive and regional approach to watershed protection. They provide planning grants to support costs associated with the development and/or revision of local planning and regulatory documents to integrate the land use provisions and resource management protections of the New Jersey Highlands Water Protection and Planning Act (the Highlands Act), so that those documents align with the goals, policies, and objectives of the Highlands Regional Master Plan.

Over half of New Jersey’s drinking water comes from the Highlands Region, which encompasses 88 municipalities in the northwest part of the state. The Highlands Council has funded numerous water-quality-related planning grants throughout the region. Somerset County is the fifth (of six) Highlands-based municipal entities that Princeton Hydro has worked with to secure Highlands Council funding to take a regional approach to lake management. Taking this type of integrated approach to lake and watershed management has much farther-reaching impacts in improving water quality, reducing aquatic invasive species, and preventing harmful algal blooms throughout an entire region.

Somerset County is the latest municipal entity to receive a Highlands Council Planning Grant. In 2019, the Borough of Ringwood became the first municipality in New Jersey to take a regional approach to private lake management through a public-private partnership with four lake associations within six lakes. The borough ultimately became a model for similar Highlands Council planning grants within the region, including West Milford Township, for which the Highlands Council approved funding in 2020 to support a Watershed Assessment of 22 private and public lakes. Subsequently in 2021, Rockaway Township in Morris County received Highlands Council planning grants to complete a Lake Management Planning Study for 11 lakes. And, in 2022, The Township of Byram received Highlands Council grant approval for a Lake and Watershed Management Program for 10 of the township's waterbodies. In January 2023, Vernon Township received approval for Phase I of its plan, which will be underway this year. Princeton Hydro authored the Scope of Work for each of these projects and can serve as a resource to other Highlands communities for lake management planning and grant writing.

To read more about our lake management and HABs mitigation work, click below:

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By Dr. Fred Lubnow, Senior Technical Director of Ecological Services

As we reflect on the winter of 2023-2024, it's evident that New Jersey experienced another unusually mild season, mirroring the winter of 2022-2023. Notably, Lake Hopatcong, located in Sussex and Morris Counties, remained virtually ice-free throughout the winter, with only a brief period of minor ice formation in early January. This pattern was not isolated to Lake Hopatcong; many lakes across the state and the broader Mid-Atlantic region exhibited similar ice-free conditions. Such conditions can lead to increased algal and plant growth earlier in the year.

Adding to this, from January to early June 2024, 15 of New Jersey's 21 counties recorded precipitation levels 26% to 50% higher than their long-term averages. The remaining six counties, predominantly in the southern part of the state, had precipitation increases of 11% to 25% above their long-term normals. This heightened precipitation is significant as it can transport nutrients, most notably phosphorus and nitrogen, into water bodies, potentially fueling the growth of algae.

Compounding these factors, long-range climate models and trends suggest that the summer of 2024 could rank among the hottest on record. The combination of a mild winter, increased precipitation, and anticipated high summer temperatures sets the stage for conditions similar to those experienced in 2019, a year marked by widespread harmful algal blooms (HABs) in numerous lakes.

HABs, characterized by rapid overgrowths of cyanobacteria, present serious challenges to water quality and aquatic ecosystems. Cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae, naturally occur in aquatic environments but can proliferate rapidly under warm, nutrient-rich conditions. These blooms pose risks to human health, wildlife, aquatic species, local economies, and the overall ecological balance. The interplay between climate change and HABs is undeniable: rising temperatures and altered precipitation patterns foster conditions that exacerbate bloom occurrences.

Given these circumstances, it is crucial for lake managers and water utilities to adopt proactive measures. Early and consistent sampling efforts can detect cyanobacteria and akinetes, dormant spores that contribute to bloom formation. Additionally, reducing nutrient inputs, particularly phosphorus, into waterways is essential to prevent HABs. Princeton Hydro strongly recommends that lake managers, water utilities, and concerned community members closely monitor their lakes, reservoirs, and riverways to stay as proactive as possible in managing these valuable resources.

By raising awareness, fostering collaboration, and implementing effective strategies, we can work towards safeguarding the health and sustainability of our freshwater ecosystems. Together, we can address the challenges posed by HABs and protect the integrity of our water bodies. For more information about HABs, click here.


Dr. Fred Lubnow, Princeton Hydro’s Senior Technical Director, Ecological Services, is an expert in aquatic and watershed management, restoration ecology, community and ecosystem ecology, and the use of benthic macroinvertebrate and fish in-stream bioassessment protocols. Dr. Lubnow has managed hundreds of lake projects and provides technical expertise for a variety of lake and watershed restoration projects.

His experience in lake and reservoir restoration includes the design and implementation of dredging, aeration, chemical control of nuisance species, nutrient inactivation (i.e. alum) and biomanipulation. His experience in watershed restoration includes the design and implementation of structural Best Management Practices (BMPs), the development of Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) pollutant budgets, and the design, implementation and analysis of watershed-based monitoring programs.

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Posted on June 11, 2024

Preparing for Potential Harmful Algal Blooms: An Urgent Call to Action for NJ’s Lakes and Reservoirs

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