Website allows public to track toxic algae in lakes, rivers

July 10, 2012

By Staff

King County and state officials recently launched a website to help protect people from illness related to toxic algae blooms in lakes and rivers.

Residents can go to the Washington State Toxic Algae website, www.nwtoxicalgae.org, to see if a waterway lake is experiencing problems from toxic algae blooms.

Come summertime, higher temperatures and increased sunshine feed the growth of toxic algae blooms in lakes and rivers.

In addition to being smelly and unsightly, algae can be toxic to people, pets and livestock. Toxicity tends to be the highest in late summer and autumn.

The county also launched a database in conjunction with the state Department of Ecology to provide a searchable website for data from algae samples. The samples come through the agency’s Freshwater Algae Control Program. Learn more about the effort at www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/wq/plants/algae/index.html.

The program paid for the project with dollars from vessel registration fees in Washington.

The map-based website uses color-coded dots to flag problem areas. Users can learn the history of algae blooms in many locations.

Report suspicious patches of algae on freshwater to Tricia Shoblom at 649-7288, or at www.ecy.wa.gov/reportenviroproblem.html.

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