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Algae Blooms

Lakes in Island County sometimes have blooms of cyanobacteria, also known as blue green algae.  Cyanobacteria reproduce rapidly and can look like green paint floating on the water.  It can be bright green, bluish, brownish or reddish green and can be floating on the surface or mixed in the water column.  Blooms of cyanobacteria are most common in the summer and fall but can occur anytime.
Some cyanobacteria can produce toxins or poisons.  These toxins can kill pets, waterfowl, and other animals.  Eventually the toxins break down and are destroyed naturally.  There are two main types of toxins; neurotoxins that target nerve synapses or axons in mammals and hepatotoxins that target liver cells in mammals.
Reduce the occurrence of cyanobacteria blooms in Island County ponds and lakes by maintaining your septic system, properly dispose of garbage, pick up pet waste, minimize use of fungicides, pesticides and herbicides, manage livestock waste with Best Management Practices, and prevent erosion.
More information about cyanobacteria blooms and the results of local lake testing are available from the Washington Department of Ecology’s Freshwater Algae Control Program.  Information regarding protection and treatment can be found on the Center for Disease Control website.


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