Due to dangerous levels of algal blooms in several areas of the Klamath River, the California Regional Water Quality Control Board is advising all swimmers, boaters, recreational water users and pets to stay out of the water until further notice.
According to a press release from the North Coast Region, Cyanobacteria, commonly known as blue-green algae, has increased to dangerous levels in Copco and Iron Gate Reservoirs, as well as in the mainstem Klamath River from Iron Gate Dam to Walker Bridge and from Happy Camp to the estuary at the mouth of the Klamath River.
“Water samples collected between Aug. 31 and Sept. 13, 2017 from those areas exceed the State of California’s recommended threshold for cyanobacteria toxins in recreational waters,” the press release said. “The reservoirs and much of the Klamath River currently exceed the ‘danger’ threshold, and have been posted with public health alerts warning against all forms of water recreation including boating, swimming, and fishing; and further advising against animal contact with the water.”
Cyanobacteria appears as bright green in the water and can accumulate on shore. Exposure to the blue-green algae can cause eye irritation, allergic skin rash, mouth ulcers, vomiting, diarrhea, and cold like symptoms; as well as causing liver failure, nerve damage and death in rare situations, according to the California Water Quality Control Board.
Although recreational water activities are not advised, the Water Quality Control Board has several suggestions those those entering the water:
Take care pets and livestock do not drink the water, swim through algae, scums or mats, or lick their fur after going in the water. Rinse pets in clean water to remove algae from fur.
Avoid wading or swimming in water containing algae blooms or scums or mats.
Do not drink, cook or wash dishes with untreated surface water from these areas under any circumstances; common water purification techniques (e.g., camping filters, tablets and boiling) do not remove toxins.
Do not eat mussels or other bivalves collected from the areas. Limit or avoid eating fish; if fish are consumed, remove guts and liver, and rinse filets in clean drinking water.
Get medical treatment immediately if you think that you, your pet or livestock might have been poisoned by blue-green algae toxins. Be sure to alert the medical professional to the possible contact with blue-green algae.
Follow the algae situation on the Klamath River online at http://www.kbmp.net/maps-data/blue-green-algae-tracker.