Manufacturing Innovation Center at Rensselaer

Jefferson Project Monitoring Harmful Algal Bloom on Skaneateles Lake

Environmental monitoring system developed on “World’s Smartest Lake” expands to threatened drinking water source

The world’s most advanced environmental monitoring system – developed through The Jefferson Project at Lake George – is being used to understand and protect Skaneateles Lake, a central New York drinking water source now threatened by toxic algae. Building on a connection through the New York State Harmful Algal Bloom (HABs) Initiative launched in late 2017, the Jefferson Project installed a custom-designed robotic sensing platform on Skaneateles, and began collecting data just prior to an early-August HABs event this year.

The Jefferson Project at Lake George is a partnership between IBM Research, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and The FUND for Lake George that combines advanced technology with science and advocacy to understand human impacts on fresh water and address the world’s looming freshwater supply challenges. The sensing platform, called a “vertical profiler,” is part of a four-month pilot project the Jefferson Project has undertaken in cooperation with the Skaneateles Lake Association and the Upstate Freshwater Institute.

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