If you're looking for a place to cool off the next few days, you may want to stay clear of Harriman State Park.

New York State Parks and Historic Sites made an announcement on July 1st, regarding a harmful algal bloom in Rockland County. In a statement they wrote:

Lake Welch Beach and Picnic Grounds in Harriman State Park are CLOSED until further notice due to a Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) that has affected all of Lake Welch. The Lake's public boat launch has also been closed until further notice. The closures are necessary to protect public health and safety. Visitors should seek alternate locations for swimming and picnicking during the July 4th weekend and check back with the park for updates before planning their next visit to Lake Welch.


What is a Harmful Algal Bloom?

So what exactly is a Harmful Algal Bloom? According to the DEC it's triggered by water and environmental conditions. Conditions might include excess nutrients like phosphorus and nitrogen "lots of sunlight, low-water or low-flow conditions, calm water, and warm temperatures."

HABS can come in different colors like shades of green, blue-green, yellow, brown or red. The DEC recommends that people, pets and livestock avoid water with floating mats, scums, or discolored water.

The DEC states that while most algae are harmless. However, they explain further writing:

Certain types of algae can grow quickly and form blooms, which can cover all or portions of a lake. Even large blooms are not necessarily harmful. However some species of algae can produce toxins that can be harmful to people and animals. Blooms of algal species that can produce toxins are referred to as harmful algal blooms

Lake Welch isn't the only body of water to have a confirmed case of HAB. The Department of Environmental Conservation has an interactive map that breaks down active and archived HAB cases.

As of July 5th, 2022, Lake Welch is still currently closed.

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