|Every summer, incendiary highway flares create the beautiful red glow we know and love during the Ring of Fire. While creating an exciting fizz and bright light, they also leave behind potassium perchlorate burn-off, which contaminates the air, soil, and lake, in addition to leaving behind metal spikes that can pollute the lake.|
Consider a new lake-friendly tradition this summer: LED flares. CLWA, with the wonderful assistance of CLWA members Greg Talomie and Charlie Constantino, has found an environmentally sensitive alternative without compromising tradition: we invite all Canandaigua lake-side residents to join with the numerous area lakes that have taken a pledge this year to convert to LED flares, cutting down on the use of approximately 77,000 incendiary flares.
In 2017, CLWA stopped selling incendiary flares as a fundraiser to align with our mission to protect the lake’s water quality and shores from environmental hazards. Today, CLWA’s efforts have gone a step further with a special collaboration courtesy of Wegmans grocery stores. Purchase your LED flares from Wegmans in Canandaigua. Wegmans in Canandaigua, and in eight other Finger Lakes locations, will no longer sell incendiary flares. The grocery store now will carry a Wegmans branded LED flare that is re-useable, shines long into the night, has a flicker mode, and can be seen one mile across the lake–all without leaving a chemical residue. These units resemble traditional flares and average approximately 90 to 100 hours of run time on regular or re-chargeable +AAA batteries. Although more expensive than the chemical flares, LED flares can save money over time because they are re-useable from year to year and can be used in a vehicle or boat. Wegmans also is donating to the Canandaigua Lake Watershed Association $2.00 for every two-pack sold and $6.00 for every six-pack sold at its Canandaigua store through the end of September.
One more thing: Please recycle your batteries.Recycling batteries keeps dangerous materials out of landfills. Batteries contain heavy metals such as mercury, lead, cadmium, and nickel. If released, these metals may be harmful to humans and the environment. Check with your town or trash hauler to find out if they can separate batteries that you divert from your trash. Or, consider using re-chargable batteries. CLWA encourages the conversion from using incendiary flares to LEDs!
|About HABs. Cyanobacteria, sometimes referred to as blue green algae because of their color, are among the oldest organisms on earth, and they are ubiquitous in all water environments. Although we tend to think of them as being harmful, and they can be, they are also incredibly valuable to life on earth because they efficiently consume large amounts of atmospheric carbon dioxide and release oxygen during photosynthesis. Unfortunately, in highly dense concentrations as seen in blooms, they can produce several toxic compounds that are hazardous to people and animals. Although several algal species (called phytoplankton) contribute to the blooms we see in our lake, the most abundant and dangerous is a group (a genus) called Microcystis. |
During the warmest summer months, there are conditions that exist that may promote the formation of HABs. They can appear very quickly and persist for hours or days, or they can disappear almost as quickly as they formed. Since previous research informs us that high levels of toxins may accompany the blooms, humans and our pets should avoid coming into contact with the water when an active bloom is observed.
What to look for: Use visual cues to identify harmful algae blooms. They can appear like pea soup, spilled paint, globs, or surface streaks. The color is typically green, blue-green, or yellow, but can also be brown, red or purple. Visit the DEC photo gallery and the Canandaigua Lake Watershed Association website to learn more about identifying blooms.