Hazardous cyanobacterial blooms at three lakes in southeast Wyoming

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Photo credit to the Wyoming Game and Fish Department website

Wyo4News Staff, [email protected]

From the Wyoming Game and Fish Department website

LARAMIE, WYOMING (August 5, 2020) — Anglers and other recreationists are cautioned about hazardous cyanobacterial blooms at Wheatland Reservoir #3, Saratoga Lake, and Leazenby Lake. Hazardous cyanobacterial blooms (HCBs) are dense concentrations of cyanobacteria or blue-green algae that pose a health risk to humans, pets, livestock, and wildlife. Anglers and recreationists are urged to visit the Department of Environmental Quality webpage for current advisories and additional information about HCBS.

 

Under normal conditions, cyanobacteria are present at low levels and play an important role in aquatic ecosystems. When blooms occur, cyanobacteria become visibly abundant and can look like grass clippings, blue-green scum, or spilled paint on the water surface. HCBs may also be suspended in the water column and may make the water appear green or blue-green. Cyanobacteria can produce toxins and other irritants that can cause health effects such as rashes, fatigue, disorientation, and gastrointestinal illnesses. In extreme cases, toxins may lead to pet, livestock, or wildlife death.

Awareness of hazardous cyanobacterial blooms has become more widespread across Wyoming in recent years. Anglers and other recreationists are urged to avoid contact with the water in areas where scum is visible. Other safety tips include:

 

  • Do not ingest water from the bloom. Boiling, filtration, and/or other treatments will not remove toxins.
  • Rinse fish with clean water and eat only the fillet portion.
  • Avoid water spray from the bloom.
  • Do not allow pets or livestock to drink water near the bloom, eat bloom material, or lick fur after contact.
  • If people, pets, or livestock come into contact with a bloom, rinse off with clean water as soon as possible and contact a doctor or veterinarian.