If you’ve been watching the lakefront market in the Finger Lakes, you’ll notice it resembles the weather this time of year, nearly frozen. There has been little to no movement along most of the Finger Lakes since the new year. The standstill of new listings creates both opportunity and frustration depending on which side of the market you stand.
The Best Time to Sell is…
For those who are considering selling their lake home in 2021, as your lakefront experts we cannot stress enough that now is the best time to list. New listings are likely to continue selling in record time as prospective buyers have been patiently awaiting new inventory. In 2020, lakefront homes across the region sold 11.83% faster than in 2019. Some markets, such as Keuka Lake, reduced its average days on market by 48% in 2020 while increasing the average sale price by 12.45%. Click here to read the 2020 Lakefront Market Report.
These quick sales were a result of pure demand. In fact, in 2020 our agents alone experienced a 167% increase in qualified buyer inquiries specifically looking for lakefront homes. This surge combined with our 27-year database of prospective waterfront buyers allowed us to match new listings with the ideal buyer to result in fast, easy sales for both parties. With the lack of inventory in 2020, many of these home shoppers are still waiting to be matched.
As summer gets closer, these buyers will be more anxious to secure a home. Spring is typically when listings pick up for any market, especially lakefront. The key will be to list prior to this influx of new inventory for maximum exposure and highest return.
What Does Selling Look Like in 2021
When you are ready to list your lake home, we advise our clients be prepared for a quick sale. If you’re currently living in your lake home year-round, we do advise you to have housing lined up. It isn’t only the Finger Lakes market that has a lack of available listings. According to a recent Inman article, across the US, “January sales had actually declined 32 percent month over month, the greatest monthly decline since the start of the pandemic.” The nation is at an all time low for listings, which can make moving especially difficult.
For those who are ready to sell, the good news is it will likely be a quick process. Our homes can be staged, photographed, listed and sold in less than a week. Our marketing department assists clients with optimizing the spaces in their homes so in one day the photography, videography, and virtual tours are complete and ready for online walkthroughs. Once the home is listed, be prepared for our team to communicate multiple and competitive offers for your home. This will be a clear indication that we priced the home correctly and connected you with right buyers for your particular home.
Another popular option that many second homeowners are looking at is utilizing the home as a vacation rental. To many this idea seems daunting. However, demand for vacation rentals, especially in the Finger Lakes region has soared. As the leading vacation rental management company in the region, we provide exclusive insights into the rental market for the region. But here’s a clue, only six weeks into the year and we have 54% more nights sold for 2021 vacation homes than this time last year. Our full circle of management services allows homeowners to reap the financial benefits of the rental demand without managing the day-to-day activities of listing, booking, guest services, and housekeeping. For more information about our rental management services, click here.
How to List Your Home
In 2020, our real estate team put together the ultimate package for our sellers to innovatively attract the most buyers while physically reducing the number of people in their homes. Our team utilized every tool in our digital marketing toolbox from professional photography, videography, virtual tours, and live video chats and walk throughs. These all-inclusive techniques combined with our database of qualified buyers allowed us to sell lake homes 23% faster than the regional market average.
First steps to selling your lake home is to reach out to our real estate team and identify if selling your home now would achieve your goals. Many who previously purchased a second home along the lakes specifically as an investment property jumped at the opportunity to take advantage of the 2020 seller’s market. However, those who expected higher than reasonable selling price were not always rewarded. A differentiator with lakefront buyers is they are more patient to find the right home, even in the midst of a pandemic. They are savvy buyers who are not about to overpay an exorbitant price tag. Our experienced lakefront real estate team provides comparative analyses before marketing to strategically list the home at the optimum price for the desired results.
If you have any questions about the real estate or rental marketing in the Finger Lakes, our sales team would be happy to assist you. Contact us today at 855-666-7812 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finger Lakes travel trends for 2020 showed a significant shift in accommodation preferences. Demand for private vacation rentals has soared above traditional hotel stay by travelers. As the year progressed and our reservations inquiries swelled by 61% year-over-year, one thing was clear, people still want to vacation.
What is the outlook for vacation rental demand in 2021?
Demand for Finger Lakes vacation rentals continues to soar. In fact, our bookings for next year (2021) are up 56% compared to this time last year! Our private rentals have become the preferred choice of accommodations for travelers seeking comfortable, clean, and dependable lakeside spaces.
Our guests and owners value the services included with their premier property. Such services include our 24/7 guest services, professional housekeeping standards, keyless check-ins, and travel planning assistance by our local agents. As we continue to accommodate inquires for our short term rentals, we want to ensure our owners and prospective rental homeowners are optimizing our partnership for the 2021 season.
Why list your home for rent now? Isn’t the season slowing down?
Many assume this is the time when we are winding down for the year. Not true. Yes the rush of peak season is behind us, but with arrivals still 88% higher this fall than last, the momentum continues. Plus, our inquiries for 2021 bookings are flowing in! Now is the time we work with our owners in preparation for next year with optimizing their home, online listing, and rates for the next year.
If you are interested in joining for the 2021 season, now is the best time to get the most out of our partnership for three reasons:
It’s all about the photos! Joining now will allow us to optimize your listing with premier photography before the leaves fall. We will send our staff photographer to your home to get interior and exterior photos PLUS a virtual tour. Photos are one of the most important assets to your listing and will help generate demand for your home.
Take advantage of expert recommendations. Our partnering owners have full access to our team of industry experts. When you join, talk to our Owner Services team about possible upgrades. From remodels, furniture upgrades, to bonus amenities, these will help secure bookings, enhance your guest’s experience, and capture more revenue. If you join this fall, you’ll have more time to make these enhancements before your first guest checks in.
Secure 2021 revenue now! With demand up 56% for 2021 vacation rentals, joining now will get more traffic to your listing and secure more bookings for next year. Secure revenue now for 2021 at the best rates possible.
Want to learn more about partnering with us?
Whether you are currently renting your home, looking to purchase an investment home, or are just starting to explore what it means to be a vacation rental owner, we’re here to help.
We have a dedicated Owner Services Team ready to answer any questions you may have about renting your lake home with Finger Lakes Premier Properties. Contact us today for more information by calling 855-585-5877 Option 4 or by inquiring here.
The safety of our guests, owners and staff has always been one of our core values. In observance of the recommendations of the CDC, we are practicing social separation during the next 8-week Coronavirus (COVID-19) lifecycle peak, and as a company we are taking the following actions:
– Our employees are practicing safe social separation and working remotely (as appropriate).
– We continue to maintain the highest housekeeping standards so that you’ll experience a sanitized, clean, and disinfected home to enjoy. We continue to use commercial grade disinfectant, and our housekeeping staff will increase their focus on “high touch” items like light switches, doorknobs, remotes, etc.
– We are providing specialized advice to our customers to ensure that the anticipated post-social separation pent-up demand can be accommodated.
For Guests with a 2020 Reservation
We are closely monitoring the local and national COVID-19 situation. We understand the uncertainty of it all. However, our region continues to be a low-risk area.
At this time, we are recommending our guests hold off on changing their travel plans through the next 8-week COVID-19 lifecycle peak. With vacation rentals being the prefered accommodation for practicing safe distancing, we are anticipating an increase in demand and want to ensure our guests who already have reservations are able to keep their scheduled vacation.
To ensure the safety of our staff, guests, and owners, our Housekeeping Department will continue to maintain the highest housekeeping standards so that you’ll experience a sanitized, clean, and disinfected home to enjoy. We continue to use commercial grade disinfectant, and our housekeeping staff will increase their focus on “high touch” items like light switches, doorknobs, remotes, etc. We do not oursource any linens, towels, or cleaning supplies and have maintenance teams on hand around the clock to assure you have the best vacation possible.
If you have any questions about your reservation, our Reservations Team are here to help you. Please feel free to call 888-414-5253 or email us at email@example.com for assistance.
Planning Your Next Finger Lakes Vacation
The Finger Lakes Region continues to be a favored “drive to” destination. Our vacation rentals offer open spaces, inhouse entertainment, and outdoor areas for families to practice safe distancing at a picturesque location.
In addition to the peaceful lakefronts, our region offers a variety of natural parks and recreation spots to create new experiences. Even though our vacation rentals offer fully equipped kitchens, we know our guests enjoy frequenting local restaurants. Fortunately, many are still offering takeout options. We are working on compiling these resources for your next visit.
To ensure the safety of our staff, guests, and owners, when you stay in one of our vacation rentals you will have the piece of mind that:
– We offer keyless entry to a majority of our rentals. You will not need to check-in at our office or a front desk. We will provide you the keyless code prior to arrival so you can go directly to your vacation home and enter it at check-in time.
– Our Housekeeping Department will continue to maintain the highest housekeeping standards so that you’ll experience a sanitized, clean, and disinfected home to enjoy. We continue to use commercial grade disinfectant, and our housekeeping staff will increase their focus on “high touch” items like light switches, doorknobs, remotes, etc between every reservation. We do not outsource any linens, towels, or cleaning supplies and have maintenance teams on hand around the clock to assure you have the best vacation possible.
– We have a 24-hour Manager on Duty to provide assistance if needed.
With the current situation, we anticipate an increased demand for our vacation rentals in the near future. To ensure you and your family are able to enjoy a safe and memorable vacation at the home and dates of your choice, click here to begin planning your next stay with us.
Finger Lakes COVID-19 Resources
For up-to-date information on the COVID-19 status, please use the resources below:
Vacation rentals are one of the fastest-growing markets for travelers in the United States. In our 27 years of managing vacation homes, we’ve never seen the amount of growth the Finger Lakes market is experiencing. With this growth, comes growing pains, but we believe Responsible Renting is the foundation to resolving short-term rental issues.
Learn more about why our region needs Responsible Renting:
Our goal is to develop resources that vacation rental owners, neighbors, and local townships can use to educate themselves and their communities about the benefits of short-term rentals and their economic impact on the region. We are also collaborating with advocacy groups, like VRMA and Rent Responsibly to help create a sustainable future for the vacation rental industry.
Contact Owner Services to learn more about current restrictions and to report possible regulations affecting your township.
Each quarter, our sales specialists analyze real estate trends across the region’s lakefront market. We compile our findings into a complimentary report to make your decision to buy or sell an easy and informed one.
Here is our analysis of the 2019 lakefront real estate market:
The lakefront market experienced smaller gains in 2019, compared to 2018. This can be attributed to the average sale price for lakefront homes continuing to tick up, while the number of sales decrease.
Lakefront homeowners are holding onto properties longer, riding the wave of YOY value increases and the popularity of operating short-term rentals. Investors continue to enter the market, looking for homes not only for personal use, but for profit. Our region has seen a 25% increase in vacation rentals over the last few years.
On lakes where the number of homes sold dropped 50%, we saw a correlating drop in total sales volume. Honeoye and Owasco Lakes were challenged by algal blooms and low inventory this year, but homes on both lakes continue to sell faster. Lower price points could transition these lakes deeper into a market that favors buyers in 2020.
HAB’s and Red Tide continue to challenge the nation’s lake and oceanfront real estate markets. Educating new homeowners on lake friendly living practices will be a focus in 2020, to ensure the health and safety of our waters for years to come.
Seneca and Canandaigua Lakes saw the greatest increase in overall sales volume last year. High-end buyers are attracted to Canandaigua Lake for its luxury amenities and close proximity to the cities of Rochester and Buffalo. We expect the upward trend to continue in 2020, as transportation options, like seaplane routes, lakefront development, and amenities continue to expand.
Seneca Lake enjoyed a 33% boost in sales volume last year, with the highest overall gain in average sale price and greatest overall drop in days on market. Seneca is the largest of the Finger Lakes, and arguably the lake with the most opportunity. While Geneva revitalizes its downtown and gains national attention for its dining and tourism, Watkins Glen continues to yield some of the region’s largest events. Seneca Lake home prices still come in below the regional average, but with an 18% price gain last year, don’t expect the lakefront bargains to last. 2020 is the year to buy on Seneca!
Market Trends to Watch
Mortgage rates are projected to continue trending downward in 2020. This is particularly great news for those looking to purchase a vacation home or income property. With low inventory and no pressure from the fed, lakefront buyers have the luxury of waiting for the right house to come on the market.
In general, the heat is off, with bidding wars at a 10 year low across the nation, but a limited inventory of starter homes is pushing first-time buyers into new territory. Rather than pour their assets into a primary residence, first-time buyers are investing in vacation homes in less expensive destinations, like the Finger Lakes. These homes have the potential to pay for themselves with vacation rental income or allow buyers to save up for their next investment.
Focused on Lakefront in 2020
While the lakefront market flattened out in 2019, the Finger Lakes Premier Properties team experienced a 58% increase in lakefront sales. Our team led purchasing sales on Cayuga and Seneca Lakes and continues to be the leading real estate team servicing the entire region. Lakefront sales accounted for 95% of our 2019 sales, higher than any other real estate team in the Finger Lakes.
Our 2020 focus is lakefront real estate. If yours is too, call us today (888) 441-0079.
The weather outside is frightful, so no one’s buying a home this time of the year, right? Think again. In the last 60 days, 35 lakefront homes went under contract in the region, including 33% of our available inventory. The market is trying to stay warm just like the rest of us, but lakefront homes are in short supply.
While winter may seem like a more challenging time to sell, the same rules don’t always apply for homes in a vacation destination. There are plenty of reasons to buy in winter, but here are some of the pros to selling your lakefront home in the off-season:
Higher priced homes see more action.
According to our listing agent, Cynthia Emerling, homes priced above $500,000 are seeing more interest. “The higher priced market starts to pick up in November, when people start evaluating their finances from the year and are motivated to take advantage of tax breaks.” Listing ahead of or during this surge of high-end buyer activity that your home sits on the market less time. “I tell high-end listings to hold out for this time of year, regardless of when they listed. This is when their buyer is in the market,” says Emerling.
Your home stays ready-to-show.
Selling in the summertime has its drawbacks. While it may be the time of year when your lakefront and landscaping look their best, it’s also the time when your lake house sees the most use. With family, friends, and guests in and out all summer, it can be difficult to ensure your home is ready-to-show when it needs to be. To maintain a staged, clean appearance, list your lakefront home in winter. As an added bonus, a light blanket of snow will cover any less-desirable features outside the home.
You’ll get the most out of your last summer on the lake.
There’s only a short window of summer weather here in the Finger Lakes. Showings can make it more difficult to schedule and enjoy your time at the lake. If your home is a vacation rental, constant showings can interfere with the guest experience. Guests who book in the peak season pay a premium for their stay and would prefer not to be interrupted by your agent.
Investment buyers have extra motivation.
On the vacation rental side, we see higher volumes of booking activity around the holidays. It makes sense – the whole family is gathered in one area, making it easy to plan their next vacation. Investment buyers don’t want to miss out on an opportunity to fill their calendars ahead of the new year. This is a huge motivator for short-term rental owners to buy ahead of the new year.
Even if you decide to hold off on listing until after the holidays, don’t wait too long. We see the spring market ramp up long before winter’s end. Lakefront buyers want to close have plenty of time to get their new home ready for summer.
Ready to list your lakefront home this winter? Start here!
Our real estate team will provide an assessment of your lakefront home and a rental analysis, free of charge, to attract buyers to the income potential of your listing. Call our lakefront listing experts today (888) 976-4981
Are you wondering how you can keep your guests coming back year after year? Little touches make a big difference. Revisit your post season inspection that you had this past fall with our Owner Services Department and check some items off your list this Black Friday! Black Friday must haves for your rental below!
What most people don’t know is that vacation rentals go through more wear and tear than a standard family home. Updating these small items in your home each year will keep your rental fresh, comfortable, and convenient for your guests.
Bedding, including mattress toppers, pillows, comforters, and quilts, are some of the most frequently replaced items for vacation rentals. Refreshing the linens is crucial for the aesthetics of the bedrooms. Guests value an up kept bedspread and will notice the condition in both the listing photos and upon arrival. Make sure you’re providing a great first impression!
65% OFF All Bedding
70% OFF Memory Foam Pillows and Toppers
70% OFF Charter Club Down Pillows
Lauren Ralph Lauren Pillows only $6.99, originally $20.00
Your rental should have a good collection of pots and pans for day-to-day cooking. Remember, keep in mind your property’s maximum occupancy when stocking your kitchen. If your home can accommodate 10 people or more, you’ll want to be sure you have a set of pots and pans sized to cook for such a large party. If your property is sized for 5 or less, you may want to forego the larger pots and pans and just have a standard size set. One thing many homeowners don’t think about is providing serving bowls or platters. Most families eat together on vacation and will need platters to put their perfectly grilled chicken on and large serving bowls for that delicious salad. Black Friday must haves for your rental below!
A common mistake in vacation rentals is not providing enough dishes to serve all the guests your property can sleep. Ideally, you should have twice the number of plates, bowls, and water glasses to accommodate your rental’s maximum capacity (e.g. If your property sleeps 5, you should have at least 10 plates). It makes it much easier for guests if they can serve a complete meal even if a few dishes are already loaded in the dishwasher.
We recommend investing in matching dishware, silverware, and glassware from a common household goods store such as Target, Walmart, or Kohl’s. You’ll be able to easily replace broken items with matching ones, and your dinnerware will be attractive but inexpensive.
Finally, remember the needs of your guests traveling with children if you intend to attract families. Parents will be grateful if you provide, sippy cups and children’s dinnerware for their little ones.
Food Network 16-pc. dinnerware set service for 4 only $42.49, originally $119.99.
Corelle 12 pc. dinnerware set service for 4 only $49.99, originally $84.99.
A coffee maker is an extremely common amenity in most hotel rooms, and your guests will expect you to have one in your rental. In addition, Some homeowners also invest in a K-cup machine such as a Keurig, which requires less maintenance and is easier for renters to use.
Mr. Coffee 12-cup Coffee Maker only $9.96.
Keurig K-Compact Brewer Black only $40, originally $59.
When you host families, there are bound to be leftovers. And just like any home, you may notice there are a plethora of unmatched storage containers in the pantry. Simplify the cooking experience for your guests with new storage containers.
Anchor Hocking 30-pc. Glass Set only $20.
Mainstays 60-pc. Meal Prep Storage Set only $7.
Rubbermaid Easy Find Lids Storage Set 38-pc. only $7.
Here are more Black Friday must haves for your rental below!
Want to take it a step further than just updating the essentials? Purchase one of these items below to enhance your vacation rental listing and your guests stay! Attract new guests with new features in 2020!
Most rentals already installed the essential appliances, so we’ll assume you have these in place. Be sure they’re all easy to use and that they still work properly – we’ve seen plenty of rental experiences ruined because an outdated oven runs hot and ruins someone’s family meal. Black Friday must haves for your rental below!
Frigidaire 34-Bottle Wine Chiller only $199, originally $399.
LG 48-Decibel Dishwasher only $399, originally $699.
Frigidaire Easy Care Stainless Steel 25.5-cu ft side by side refrigerator only $799, originally $1,299.
Maytag 3.8-cu ft washer and 7-cu ft Electric Dryer, only $398 ea., originally $699 ea.
While many people vacation in the Finger Lakes to get a break from reality and enjoy the outdoor scenery, they still appreciate the convenience technology offers. This is especially true of the millennial generation who are spending more of their disposable income on vacations.
Guests appreciate smart TVs with cable or a movie streaming service to relax at night, such as Roku. Besides entertainment, a TV contributes to the overall atmosphere and helps your guests feel more at home. If you already have one TV in the living room, you may consider placing additional TVs in each bedroom.
Is your rental lacking a focal point to draw visitors to stay at your rental? Are you wishing for more year-round bookings? Creating a game room or adding entertainment to a common area or empty garage could catch the eyes of a new demographic of guests. Purchase one of these inexpensive games and draw in those family reunion stays and sports junkies. Your rental could be an entertainers paradise. Black Friday must haves for your rental below!
Foosball/Soccer Game Table only $282.14.
3-in-1 7 foot Game Table only $701.23, originally $949.99.
If you are like the people vacationing in the Finger Lakes, you probably chose your vacation spot for the outdoor spaces to savor the scenery. If you want to increase bookings, create an enjoyable outdoor atmosphere for your guests.
One way you can do this is to provide outside furniture. However, throwing a few wooden chairs out in a yard that receives direct sunlight probably isn’t going to do the trick. Instead, you may want to invest in plush furniture that is both comfortable and decorative, but durable enough to withstand the elements. Perhaps some comfy cushions or a recliner would be appropriate so that guests can unwind and relax. It will have them craving your outdoor patio all year round!
When it comes to amenities, do not skimp. Amenities are all those extra things that put the cherry on top. Even the smallest things can make or break a guest’s experience which can affect reviews and repeat visits.
FLPP includes the traditional amenities but you may wish to throw in additional amenities such as a universal charger and adapter to eliminate the fears of travelers who forgot their own.
However, remember that guests are vacationing in the Finger Lakes. If you want to increase bookings, consider adding lake-specific amenities such as paddleboats or kayaks as part of the vacation rental. Another amenity guests look for is a hot tub, especially our year-round renters. In addition to the extra draw, you will be able to increase rates as well. Black Friday must haves for your rental below!
Click below to see the complete list of all the Black Friday and Cyber Monday Deals. If shopping in stores isn’t your thing, then purchase your items on Cyber Monday and have them shipped right to us. We will make sure they are put in your rental and ready for your next guests arriving.
When it comes to winter, there are two types of lakefront homeowners – those who weather the storms and those who head for warmer water. If you own or are considering buying a lake house, but not interested in sticking around for the Finger Lakes snowfall, you’ll need to winterize your home.
Winterization protects your lakefront asset and forces you
to understand your home, inside and out. Plus, you’ll return to fewer
maintenance issues, so you can jump right into summer.
Properly prepare for winter and check these items off your
Vacation rentals may feel like a new trend, but the short-term rental industry has been around for decades in destinations worldwide, including the Finger Lakes. With third party booking sites, like VRBO and AirBnb making vacation rentals more popular and plentiful than ever before, its important to explore what responsible renting looks like and how short-term rentals can continue to add value to our region.
Here are just a few of the ways that the Finger Lakes benefit from vacation rentals:
Vacation rentals uphold the lake culture of our communities.
The Finger Lakes are a traditional summer vacation destination. Our shorelines are lined with seasonal homes and cottages, where families have experienced lake life together for generations. Short-term rentals support the culture of our lake communities, extended stays in the region, and the need for more property tax revenue.
Vacation rentals supplement hotel room supply.
Local hotels book up fast for peak season. Short-term rentals not only supplement hotel room supply, but can better accommodate larger groups and niche travelers. Finger Lakes Premier Properties has hosted over 80,000 guests since 2015. The more tourists our region can lodge, the more we encourage economic growth for local businesses and communities.
Vacation rentals keep family homes in the family.
Short-term rental income makes it possible for families to afford the increasing costs associated with owning a lake house. This allows the tradition of gathering at the lake to continue for years to come.
Vacation rentals support property values.
In 2018, 32% of investment property owners planned on renting their home as a short-term rental, up 24% from 2017. The demand for lakefront homes is growing because of increased demand for short-term rentals.
Vacation rentals create opportunity.
Short-term rentals make the lakefront experience affordable and accessible to everyone. Families have private, recreational access to the water, regardless of whether they have the means to live on the lake. In addition, the vacation rental industry creates a variety of skilled and unskilled jobs throughout the region.
What does Responsible Renting look like?
Vacation rentals managed by professional property managers add significant value to the community by expanding the tax base and attracting direct and indirect spending in our area. Unfortunately, popular listing sites have portrayed the ease of owning a vacation rental without highlighting the importance of managing the experience for the guest, owner, and local community. Read more about what responsible renting looks like here.
To learn more about professional property management services for your short-term rental, visit our website.
On Wednesday, October 23, our team attended the Water Quality Forum at Hobart and William Smith Colleges to review research collected in 2019 and discuss water quality issues important to Seneca Lake. While harmful algae blooms (HAB’s) continue to be a serious issue facing the region, there are a number of state and local organizations collecting valuable data and funding projects to fight HAB’s in the Finger Lakes.
Each year, more is understood about blue green algae and what we can do to reduce bloom frequency and toxicity. Here are 5 takeaways from the forum and the research conducted during the 2019 HAB season: :
85% of HAB’s sent out for testing this year came back positive for high toxin levels.
Over 100 samples from suspicious algae blooms were collected
this year, and of those samples, 40 were budgeted to be sent out for toxin
level measurement. 34 were positive for
high toxins, driving home the point that if you see or suspect a bloom, stay
out of the water.
HAB’s are most toxic at 20⁰ C, the water temperature we see most often in September. In 2018, the last algae bloom was reported toward the end of September, but this year, blooms have been confirmed late into October, a result of extra sunshine and warmer water temps. Generally, HAB’s are not an issue until late August on the majority of the lakes.
It cannot be determined if HAB’s are increasing year over
While the data presented since 2012 indicates that HAB’s are not only increasing in frequency, but also in toxicity, the DEC cannot conclude that this is the case. In 2018, there were 120 shoreline volunteers photographing blooms and collecting samples. Just 5 years earlier, a hotline was the only public initiative and no training was conducted to identify blue green algae. Aimee Clinkhammer, researcher with NYS DEC, concluded that the trend could be heavily influenced by the increase in education and conversation surrounding HAB’s.
There’s something in the soil on Seneca.
In an experiment performed by John Halfman, researcher for the Finger Lakes Institute, mud was collected in various locations along the Seneca Lake shoreline. Geneva tap water was added to the samples. They were left undisturbed and received daily sun, replicating favorable HAB conditions. Over time, every sample developed a blue green algae bloom.
It’s known that HAB’s need nitrogen and phosphorus to proliferate. These nutrients enter the lake in greater quantities after storms through stream runoff. Another nutrient source could be decaying macrophytes along the shore, like dried up seaweed and tree branches. To reduce the amount of shoreline debris settling in the water, Halfman urged attendees to perform routine beach clean up, especially after storms.
The uniqueness of each lake may impact how and when HAB’s
While the forum focused on Seneca Lake, the other Finger Lakes were not ignored. In comparing trends found on Seneca to the other 10 lakes, there were few parallels. Some lakes had higher levels of phosphorus with some bloom activity, like Seneca. Other lakes had very low levels of phosphorus and high bloom activity, like Skaneateles Lake. This indicates that different Finger Lakes may be able to handle different nutrient levels and, therefore, be impacted by HAB’s in unique ways.
New York is a leader in the national effort to address HAB’s.
HAB’s are not exclusive to the Finger Lakes, and are an even greater issue downstate and across the country. We are not alone, but we are the model. Clinkhammer commented that other state agencies have looked to the NYS DEC for guidance in forming their own HAB’s initiatives and programs.
While more research is needed to fully understand and address HAB’s in our region, the Water Quality Forum provided insight into the fight and hope for the future of our lakes.
A huge thank you to the Seneca Pure Waters Association for holding this important and well attended event! We look forward strengthening our partnership and keeping our homeowners and guests informed.
For more information about harmful algae blooms, please visit the NYHABS website.