[env-trinity] Times-Standard: Blue-green algae warning issued for Copco Reservoir: Avoid contact, use caution consuming fish

Tom Stokely tstokely at att.net
Thu Jun 20 15:45:08 PDT 2013


Blue-green algae warning issued for Copco Reservoir: Avoid contact, use caution consuming fish

The Times-Standard
Posted:   06/20/2013 11:15:53 AM PDT
Updated:   06/20/2013 11:15:54 AM PDT

Press release from the California Regional Water Quality Control Board:
Due to its potential health risks, federal, state, and tribal agencies are urging swimmers, boaters and recreational users to avoid contact with blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) now blooming in Copco Reservoir on the Klamath River in Northern California. Copco Reservoir has been posted with health advisories warning against human and animal contact with the water.

Cyanobacteria (Microcystis aeruginosa) cell counts in Copco Reservoir have exceeded the public health advisory threshold during recent public health monitoring. California agencies including the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board, the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) and the California Department of Public Health, as well as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Yurok and Karuk Tribes urge residents and recreational water users of Copco Reservoir to use caution and avoid getting in the water near these blooms, especially during the upcoming summer months.

Public health monitoring for the Klamath River from Link River Dam in Oregon to the estuary in California (including Copco and Iron Gate Reservoirs) is conducted collaboratively by the United States Bureau of Reclamation, PacifiCorp, the Karuk Tribe, the Yurok Tribe, and the California North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

"As blue-green algae
(cyanobacteria) can pose health risks, especially to children and pets, we urge people to be careful where they swim when visiting Copco Reservoir," said Matt St. John, Executive Officer of the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board. "We recommend that people and their pets avoid contact with the blooms, and particularly avoid swallowing or inhaling of water spray in an algal bloom area."

The algal blooms look bright green in the water, and blue-green, white or brown foam, scum or mats can float on the water and accumulate along the shore. Recreational exposure to toxic blue-green algae can cause eye irritation, allergic skin rash, mouth ulcers, vomiting, diarrhea, and cold and flu-like symptoms. Liver failure, nerve damage and death have occurred in rare situations where large amounts of contaminated water were directly ingested.

"This is a situation that anyone who comes into contact with water in the reservoirs should be aware of. Vacationers and the public should adjust their activities accordingly", St. John said.

The Statewide Guidance on Harmful Algal Blooms recommends the following:
* Take care that pets and livestock do not drink the water or swim through heavy algae, scums or mats, nor lick their fur after going in the water. Rinse pets in clean drinking water to remove algae from fur.
* Avoid wading and swimming in water containing visible blooms or water containing algae, scums or mats.
* If no algae, scums or mats are visible, you should still carefully watch young children and warn them not to swallow the water.
* Do not drink, cook or wash dishes with untreated surface water under any circumstances; common water purification techniques (e.g., camping filters, tablets) may not remove toxins.
* People should 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.

With proper precautions to avoid water contact, people can still visit Copco Reservoir and enjoy camping, hiking, biking, canoeing, picnicking, or other recreational activities, excluding direct contact with the algal bloom

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