Water group warns of possible lake dangers

The Lake Almanor Water Group has received information from the California State Water Resources Control Board reminding residents and visitors about the potential harm that can come from accumulations of harmful algae blooms (blue/green algae) in a body of water.

As the weather warms and the temperature of Lake Almanor and surrounding bodies of water rises, the danger of algae blooms should be a continuing point of attention as the summer continues.

Aaron Seandel with the LAWG said, “ We will continue to sample the lake, to monitor its health, and to report concerns about the lake back to the community.”

The WRCB warns to keep pets and children out of the water if a bloom is spotted.

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As summer continues, the SWRCB notes that statewide   millions of Californians will be drawn to waterways throughout the state for good times and relaxation.

While there are always a myriad water safety issues to be aware of, they stress the public should be aware of the not so common or obvious danger of freshwater harmful algal blooms, or HABs, which have become increasingly common in lakes, rivers and reservoirs.

Most freshwater HABs are formed by cyanobacteria (formerly called blue-green algae).

They are actually microbes that live in nearly every habitat on land and in the water, and they generally don’t become a problem until the right mix of higher water temperatures, slow-moving current and excessive nutrients causes cyanobacteria to rapidly multiply and form HABs.

Cyanobacteria are capable of producing toxins, which have the potential to harm people, pets, wildlife or livestock.

These HABs can be especially dangerous to children and pets because of their smaller body size, increased potential to ingest water, and tendency to stay in the water for longer time periods.

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Exposure to cyanobacteria and associated toxins can cause eye irritation, skin rash, mouth ulcers, vomiting, diarrhea and cold or flu-like symptoms.

Invasive species

The LAWG also reminds lake users about the dangers of the quagga and zebra mussels.

“We have been fortunate in preventing the spread of these invasive species to Lake Almanor” said Seandel. He added, “The State Department of Fish and Wildlife has been very helpful conducting vertical plankton tows each summer to capture any veligers (the larval state of these mollusks) that might be present in the lake.

Good news so far this summer; after two such tows, no mussels have been detected.

Watercraft owners and visitors are strongly urged to follow the steps for cleaning and draining their boats after use.

Check your boating and fishing equipment for invasive species and clean any visible mud, plants, fish or animals before transporting your boats and equipment.

Last but not least, LAWG reminds everyone to be aware of the high water levels in lakes and streams.

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On June 17, the Almanor Lake level measured at 4,492.81 feet in elevation, which is less than a foot and a half below maximum elevation of 4,494 feet, established by PGE.

There is still plenty of snowmelt to occur, and this should be a red flag to all watercraft users to be extra careful in navigating around the lake.

Be particularly watchful for floating objects such as logs and tree branches.

“Enjoy the lake and thank you for keeping Lake Almanor healthy and beautiful,” says Seandel and LAWG.