In 2013, the FUND for Lake George came together with IBM and RPI to create a sophisticated network of sensors designed to keep what Thomas Jefferson dubbed as the most beautiful water he ever saw, well, beautiful.
“The Jefferson Project is really a springboard to the future as to what we need to understand about this lake in order to protect it," said Eric Siy, FUND executive director.
The project tests the lake’s water quality using over 50 platforms and more than 500 sensors.
“We’re collecting thousands of data points every day," said Rick Relyea, RPI director.
But now, The Jefferson Project is serving a new purpose: a battle against toxic algal on a different lake.
“There's something going on in the last decade or two that’s making lakes in our region way more likely to have algal blooms, including Skaneateles, where you’ve never seen it before," said Relyea.
And that’s where Relyea says The Jefferson Project comes in.
“The idea is put sensors on Skaneateles Lake, and while no one wants to see harmful algal blooms, if they happen, we’d like to be able to take data during those events," said Relyea.
Last month, the first vertical profiler, like the ones on Lake George, was strategically placed on Skaneateles Lake and will be there for the next four months, monitoring the harmful bacteria.
“And that’s really the grand challenge, predicting when and where the next one will be and that is a really hard question but we’re taking on that challenge," said Relyeas.