The Jefferson Project at Lake George, a state-of-the-art program for water quality and Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) research, was introduced to Chautauqua Lake in 2020 in partnership with the Chautauqua County Government, Chautauqua Institution, and the Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance. The Jefferson Project is a collaboration of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, IBM Research, and The FUND for Lake George, which employs a sophisticated technological approach to studying fresh water, with a goal of understanding the impact of human activity on fresh water, and how to mitigate those effects.
Chautauqua Lake HABS Research Plan for Late Summer/Fall 2020
The over-arching research question
What are the physical, chemical, and biological drivers and inhibitors of HABs in Chautauqua Lake and how can we predict where and when HABs will occur?
The over-arching research approach (over multiple years)
By exploiting the power of comparisons among lakes that differ in their propensity for HABs, including Chautauqua Lake (CL) and Lake George (LG), we will construct a network of lake research initiatives that uses a combination of advanced sensor monitoring, lake surveys, leading-edge experiments, and unprecedented, coupled computer modeling to identify the drivers of HABs in lakes where they occur, and to identify the limiting factors in lakes where HABs do not occur.
Near-term tasks to be completed (August-November 2020)
- Deploy 2 Vertical Profilers in Chautauqua Lake, with attached weather stations and ADCPs (Acoustic Doppler Current Profilers).
- Off-shore surveys to monitor physical, chemical, and biological parameters in CL.
- Produce 1st generation models of weather and lake circulation for CL.
- Develop 1st generation food-web models to be coupled with physical models to predict HABs occurrence in CL.
- Networking of sensor data, survey data, and modeling data from CL & LG for advanced analyses.
- Develop targeted media and outreach plans with stakeholders.
The Bottom Line
The Jefferson Project partners are investing research personnel, hardware, and software assets in this start-up phase of Chautauqua Lake research to ensure progress without delay, recognizing the need for additional public/private contributors to advance the program beyond 2020.
Researchers from The Jefferson Project presented their initial findings from 2020 at the Chautauqua Lake Water Quality Research Panel on April 10, 2021. Click here to view the entire panel https://porch.chq.org/re/event/496/.
For more information on The Jefferson Project at Lake George please visit their website at https://jeffersonproject.rpi.edu/.