Long-term drought creates Pyramid Lake algal bloom

June 30, 2015

SACRAMENTO — The bloom formed despite the lake being at about 92 percent capacity.

SACRAMENTO — The public has been advised to be cautious in Pyramid Lake because of a large algal bloom, according to a press release.

California’s drought has restricted water flow through bodies of water, leading to the formation of the bloom, noted the release. This is despite the lake being at about 92 percent capacity.

Warm temperatures, sunlight and the water’s nutrients all contribute to algal blooms, stated the release. People and pets can be harmed when coming into contact with the dangerous toxins they can produce.

The toxins can be inhaled or absorbed by the skin, reported the release. High exposure can cause rashes, irritation, headaches and gastrointestinal upset. Picnicking and hiking near the water are considered safe.

The release provides several precautions to take based on theVolunteer Statewide Guidance for Blue-Green Algae Blooms:

  • Avoid water contact, including wading, swimming and skiing with water that is visibly discolored or contains blooms, algal scums or mats.
  • If you or your pets come in contact with the water, rinse off with fresh water as soon as possible. Use warm, soapy water where available. Remove clothing to avoid contact with trapped algal cells.
  • Always warn young children not to swallow any lake water, whether or not you see signs of algae.
  • Avoid boating over mats of algae to prevent accidental inhalation or ingestion of spray.
  • If you choose to consume fish caught in the lake, remove the guts and liver and rinse fillets in tap water before eating the fish.

Click here to read the entire release.

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