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Toxic-Blue Algae Known for Killing Dogs Found in Whiskeytown Ponds

Flickr/daveynin

Officials from the Whiskeytown National Recreation have announced that two ponds on the north side of Whiskeytown Lake are currently closed while being tested for the blue-green algae cyanobacteria.

Grizzly Gulch Pond and Second Pond are currently closed while water testing is being conducted for the algae that is known to be harmful to dogs. Dogs that come into contact with algae blooms can get sick and sometimes die because their bodies are smaller and they tend to swallow a lot of water.

Park officials are working with the Water Quality Control Board to see if the algae is hopeful before determining whether the ponds can reopen. Until the tests are complete, the public is being urged to avoid the water.

“The areas that are experiencing the algal blooms have poor water circulation (very little fresh water input) and are experiencing increased nitrogen input from the Carr Fire and warmer water temperatures. It is always good practice to swim in areas that have good water circulation and is near a fresh flowing stream,” Whiskeytown officials wrote on social media.

Blue-green algae can appear blue-green, reddish-purple, or brown, and cause the water to be murky. Most species are buoyant and will float to the surface, where they form scum layers or floating mats.

“We will know early next week what species of algae this is and will be able update our visitors as soon as possible. In the meantime, the park has closed these areas to the public,” said Whiskeytown officials.

Officials have released some guidelines for how to handle the water in the ponds:

Tips for Dog Owners:

Dogs that come into contact with algal blooms can get sick and sometimes die because their bodies are smaller and they tend to swallow a lot of water. Always look at water conditions before letting your dog swim or wade. Provide your dog a fresh water source to minimize the amount of lake water they drink. Rinse your dog off as soon as possible after being in the water. Since dogs often lick their fur, they can ingest toxins even after they are dry. If your dog has been in the water near an algae bloom, call your vet if they seem ill afterwards.

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