Experts answer questions on cloudy St. Lawrence River conditions


CLAYTON, N.Y. (WWTI) — The St. Lawrence River has been made famous for its clear water qualities since the 1980s due to the invasion of mussels. However, in recent weeks, this has changed.

Residents have been voicing their concerns regarding the milky and blue green tint of the river and spots on Lake Ontario, and experts are moving quick to answer their questions as to what is believed to be a “whiting event.”

SUNY ESF Professor at the Thousand Islands Biological Station on Governor’s Island has explained the biological and chemical processes causing this natural phenomenon.

The combination of both warm conditions, the change of water pH and plankton in the water is combining the whitish particles in the water flowing into the river from Lake Ontario.

A similar event occured in 2013 and received national recognition from NASA.

Although this exact cause of this uncommon event is still being studied, Dr. Farrell and other researchers are ensuring the safety of all nearby residents. There is no present evidence that this plankton is harmful to humans or animals.

Dr. Farrell ensured that this water quality issue will be continued to be studied by himself and other scientists across the region to develop a further understanding. However, he stated that he believes it will subside as fall weather will begin to cool the river.

Save the River Executive Director John Peach also commented on after releasing a public statement on the organizations website addressing concerns, on August 26.

“Save The River works closely with Dr. Farrell and other scientists on both sides of the Upper St. Lawrence River on issues important to the health of the River. Dr. Farrell’s clarification of the current “whiting” event is very much appreciated by Save The River’s members and followers. Understanding the science behind the River issues is critical to Save The River’s mission and membership. Dr. Farrell was a former President of Save The River’s Board, and we continue to work closely with him at the Thousand Islands Biological Station.” 

John Peach, Save the River Executive Director


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