Assemblymember Anna Kelles (AD-125) and New York State Senator, Rachel May (SD-48) have announced new legislation aimed to combat harmful algal blooms in New York waters. The legislation is part of both Kelles and May’s mission in protecting the environment and the state’s freshwater resources with the Harmful Algal Bloom Monitoring and Prevention (HABMAP) Act.
Harmful Algal Blooms (HABS) were once considered rare in New York, but have recently begun to appear in reservoirs, lakes, ponds, and coastal areas. A DEC report from 2022 shows there were 1,053 HABS in 204 water bodies in the state. The reported numbers Kelles Office says likely understates the problem due to underreporting.
The HABMAP Act will create a centralized resource for reporting and dealing with HABs throughout the state, including both potential and known causes, best practice interventions, expertise, and funding resources.
“Year after year we are seeing ever increasing harmful algal bloom (HABs) outbreaks across the state. Last year alone we had over a thousand outbreaks spanning almost every county in the state including every Borough in NYC.” Kelles said in a release. “Not only are HABs toxic to humans and animals and destructive to natural ecosystems, for years consistent summer long outbreaks have been decimating the economy of many of our communities that depend on ecotourism dollars to support their local businesses. It is not enough to simply track and document the outbreaks.”