Tuesday, June 22, 2021
Local Lakes Test Negative for Algal Blooms
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Wednesday, May 26, 2021
 

BY KAREN BOSSICK

Two Wood River Valley lakes have tested negative for harmful algal blooms after reports of dogs becoming sick.

The South Central Public Health District and the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality tested for concentration of cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae, in Penny Lake and Dollar Lake after reports of dogs becoming sick. The tests came back negative, showing there were no harmful algal blooms at the time.

“This is a good reminder to make sure you know what to look for and how to report a harmful algal bloom,” said Josh Jensen, SCPHD program manager. “The likelihood of algal blooms in our local lakes goes up as summer temperatures heat the water and encourage algae to grow. With such a low water year, we may be seeing them earlier than usual.”

Algal blooms occur naturally in Idaho’s bodies of water, often around places like Mormon Reservoir. They can cause rapid death by respiratory failure. Dogs can develop poisoning and seizures from drinking from or even swimming in blue-green algae.

They often look as if somebody spilled paint or grass clippings on the water.

Other common indicators of an algal bloom:

  • The water has foam, scum, algal mats, or paint-like streaks on the surface
  • The water looks discolored
  • The water smells unusually bad

If you see a bloom, stay out of the water and keep your pets out of the water. Do not fish, swim, boat, or play water sports. You cannot tell if a bloom is harmful by looking at it, so it is best to use caution and stay away.

If your pet begins to show signs of toxic exposure after playing in a reservoir or lake, connect with your vet immediately for treatment.

You can help by reporting suspicious looking water to DEQ by phone, email, with the bloomWatch app, or online at https://www.deq.idaho.gov/about-us/contact-us/report-an-environmental-concern/

More information is available at https://www.deq.idaho.gov/water-quality/surface-water/cyanobacteria-harmful-algal-blooms/

Learn more about identifying a harmful algal boom at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NBhcrryEA4c

 


 

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