Be on the look out for waters that look suspicious — foamy, scummy, thick like paint, pea-green, blue-green or brownish red, or bright green cells suspended in the water column. When in doubt, stay out!
Health advisories for toxic algae levels have been issued for the following bodies of water in Oregon.
Willow Creek Reservoir, located just east of the town of Heppner in Morrow County 8.7.17
Agency Lake, located just north of Klamath Falls along U.S. Highway 97 in Klamath County 8.7.17
Upper Klamath Lake, specifically Howard Bay and Shoalwater Bay. Upper Klamath Lake is located northwest of Klamath Falls in Klamath County. 7.28.17
Coffenbury Lake, located at Fort Stevens State Park about five miles northwest of US-101 ALT, Northwest Ridgefield Road near Warrenton in Clatsop County 7.28.17
Drews Reservoir, located 15 miles west of the town of Lakeview in Lake County. 6.30.17
Lake Billy Chinook, located approximately 12 miles west of Madras, in Jefferson County. Advisory boundaries are as follows: The Metolius River Arm – From Perry South Campground to the northern tip of Chinook Island. 6.30.17
Odell Lake, located 75 miles southeast of Eugene off Oregon Route 58 in the northwest corner of Klamath County LIFTED 8.2.17
Lake Billy Chinook, located approximately 12 miles west of Madras, in Jefferson County.The update lifts the advisory on those areas of the Deschutes and Crooked River of Lake Billy Chinook arms affected by the advisory, and confines the advisory on the Metolius Arm to Perry South Cove. Water monitoring has confirmed that the level of blue-green algae toxins are below guideline values for human exposure. However, Oregon Health Authority recommends that people remain cautious when using the lake, particularly with pets because toxins are still well above the very low exposure levels established for dogs. LIFTED 7.17.17
Eagle Ridge County Park on Upper Klamath Lake, located off Highway 140, 15 miles west of Klamath Falls in Klamath County. The Oregon Health Authority recommends that people continue to be cautious with their pets in the lake because toxins in some areas such as Keno State Park are still above the very low exposure levels established for dogs. LIFTED 6.20.17
South Tenmile, located 10 miles north of North Bend in Coos County. LIFTED 6.16.17
Detroit Lake, located 46 miles southeast of Salem in Marion County. The Oregon Health Authority recommends that people continue to be cautious with their pets in the lake because toxins are still above the very low exposure levels established for dogs. LIFTED 6.16.17
- South Umpqua River: Avoid water in pools of bedrock along the South Umpqua River and Lawson Bar.
Children and pets are particularly susceptible to this toxin
Exposure to toxins can produce symptoms of numbness, tingling and dizziness that can lead to difficulty breathing or heart problems and require immediate medical attention. Symptoms of skin irritation, weakness, diarrhea, nausea, cramps and fainting should also receive medical attention if they persist or worsen. Children and pets are particularly susceptible.
Swallowing or inhaling water droplets should be avoided, as well as skin contact with water by humans or animals. Drinking water from these bodies of water is especially dangerous. Oregon Public Health officials advise campers and other visitors that toxins cannot be removed by boiling, filtering or treating the water with camping-style filters.
Oregon Public Health recommends that people who choose to eat fish from waters where algae blooms are present should remove all fat, skin and organs before cooking since toxins are more likely to collect in these tissues. Additionally, public health officials advise that people should not eat crayfish or freshwater shellfish harvested from these bodies of water while this advisory is in effect.
A hazard for dogs
Dogs have become very sick and even died after swimming in and swallowing water affected by toxic algae. If you find thick, brightly colored foam or scum at a lake, pond or river, don’t let your pet drink or swim in the water. Avoid contact with the water, as toxins can be absorbed through the skin.
Symptoms in dogs
Exposure to toxic blue-green algae can result in:
- Weakness or collapse
- Nausea, vomiting
- Excessive drooling
- Abdominal pain
- Difficulty breathing
- Shaking, trembling
- Tremors, rigidity, paralysis
If your dog goes into the water:
- Don’t let your pet lick its fur.
- Wash your pet with clean water as soon as possible.
- If your dog has symptoms such as drooling, weakness, vomiting, staggering and convulsions after being in water, seek immediate veterinary care. Acute, life-threatening symptoms from cyanobacterial toxins often develop rapidly. Death can occur within minutes to hours after exposure.
For more information, contact the Harmful Algae Bloom Surveillance program at (971) 673-0400.