Summer may be a little slow getting started this year, but we know it’s coming! In preparation for those sunny days on the water, the VT DEC and partners are actively recruiting and training citizen scientists to become cyanobacteria monitors.
Cyanobacteria are photosynthetic aquatic organisms found in just about every lake, pond, and river across the state. (They also go by the name ‘blue-green algae”.) Under certain conditions, they can grow very abundant and form scums at the surface known as ‘blooms’. Some cyanobacteria may produce potent toxins that are harmful to people and pets. Because of this, the VT DEC works closely with the Department of Health to share information about bloom conditions across the state with residents and visitors.
You can help us track cyanobacteria populations by becoming a citizen monitor:
- We provide the information and training you need to recognize cyanobacteria, decide if a bloom is present, and upload your report to the CyanoTracker map hosted by the Department of Health.
- You pick a location to visit each week and send us your observations.
We’ve used this system on Lake Champlain with help from the Lake Champlain Committee since 2012 with great success. The reports provided by our volunteers help boaters and swimmers steer clear of cyanobacteria. They also help us better understand conditions on Lake Champlain as a whole.
Cyanobacteria monitors report each summer between mid-June and early September. Training is underway now. To learn how you can become involved, please visit our Cyanobacteria Monitor homepage or email us at ANR.Lakesvolmonitoring@vermont.gov