07/06/2012: "Got An Algae Bloom?"
The state is improving its efforts to protect people from getting sick from toxic algae blooms in lakes and rivers;and there is information on what it all means, even in ponds.
You can now go online (www.nwtoxicalgae.org) to see if your favorite lake is having problems with toxic algae blooms that can hurt you, your kids or your pets.
Warm temperatures and sunshine feed the growth of toxic algae blooms in lakes and rivers. Algae can be smelly, unsightly, and toxic to people, pets and livestock. And right now is the time for algae blooms to begin showing up. In our region, toxicity tends to be the highest in late summer and fall.
There is also a webpage with educational information about algae blooms.
"Not all algae blooms are toxic, so we advise "when in doubt, stay out," Seebacher noted, adding, "This advice is for both people and pets."
If you see a suspicious patch of algae on freshwater, you can report it to the Department of Ecology's Tricia Shoblom at 425-649-7288, or report it online here: (www.ecy.wa.gov/reportenviroproblem.html).
The freshwater program does not cover algae blooms in marine waters, but you can report those to Ecology, also.
You can do your part to prevent algae blooms in all waters. If your home uses a septic system, make sure it is regularly maintained and working properly. Reduce the use of fertilizers on your lawn and garden. Pick up your pet waste and manage your livestock manure. Urban runoff contains nutrients that fuel algae blooms, so making small changes in daily activities can help.