[env-trinity] Times-Standard: Blue-green algae warning issued - BGA Tracker Tool

Louis, Gail Louis.Gail at epa.gov
Thu Jun 20 16:11:41 PDT 2013

For those who are interested in the most recent information regarding cyanobacteria (also known as blue-green algae) blooms in the Klamath River and the locations of health advisory postings, check out the Blue-Green Algae (BGA) Tracker tool at the Klamath Basin Monitoring Program website. http://www.kbmp.net/blue-green-algae-tracker
About the Tracker

The Tracker was built to inform the public and research community regarding river conditions. The Tracker utilizes current information to track and map the blue-green algae blooms throughout the Klamath Basin. The Blue-Green Algae Tracker identifies blue-green algae public health threats (i.e. exceeds health thresholds identified in the statewide voluntary guidance<http://www.cdph.ca.gov/HealthInfo/environhealth/water/Documents/BGA/BGAdraftvoluntarystatewideguidance-07-09-2010.pdf>) by river segment bounded by public health monitoring locations. Areas that present a threat to public health are highlighted in RED.
Incidentally, the KBMP website also hosts the Klamath Fish Health Assessment Team (KFHAT) webpage. http://www.kbmp.net/collaboration/kfhat
KFHAT is a technical workgroup which formed during the summer of 2003 with the purpose of providing early warning and a coordinated response effort to avoid, or at least address non-hazardous materials related fish kill event in the Klamath River basin below Iron Gate dam. To accomplish this goal, KFHAT created a network where information about current river and fish health conditions in the Klamath Basin can be quickly shared among participants, the general public, and resource managers.
KFHAT utilizes a color coded system of readiness levels to communicate the current conditions in the Klamath River and its tributaries, and the current potential for a fish kill.   The readiness levels range from green, no immediate foreseeable problems, to red, a die-off is imminent or occurring.  Movement between readiness levels is based upon the best professional judgment of KFHAT members using the most current information on water quality and fishery conditions in the basin.
Currently, the readiness level is yellow, signaling the need for heightened awareness and frequent communication of river and fishery conditions.  The decision to move to yellow was based upon the unprecedented 2012 estimated run size of over 380,000 salmonids expected to enter the Klamath River.  To give some perspective, the in-river run size in 2002, when the fish kill occurred, was 161,000.  The predicted returns may be the highest on record (record began in 1978).  Because of varying weather conditions in the Klamath Basin and the predicted large salmonid return, KFHAT members will be constantly monitoring the river and fishery this season to alert resource managers if it appears that fish health is deteriorating. In addition, the Trinity River flow group is conducting advance planning to determine ways to keep flows in the Klamath estuary above 2,800 cfs this fall.
Gail Louis
US EPA Region IX
75 Hawthorne Street (WTR-3)
San Francisco, CA  94105
Phone:    (415) 972-3467
Fax:        (415) 947-3537
Email:     louis.gail at epa.gov

From: env-trinity-bounces+louis.gail=epa.gov at velocipede.dcn.davis.ca.us [mailto:env-trinity-bounces+louis.gail=epa.gov at velocipede.dcn.davis.ca.us] On Behalf Of Tom Stokely
Sent: Thursday, June 20, 2013 3:45 PM
To: env-trinity at velocipede.dcn.davis.ca.us
Subject: [env-trinity] Times-Standard: Blue-green algae warning issued for Copco Reservoir: Avoid contact, use caution consuming fish

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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