Water officials warn visitors about toxic algae in Lake Elsinore, Big Bear Lake

State and regional water officials are urging people to stay out of the waters of Lake Elsinore and Big Bear Lake after high levels of algae were detected.

The California State Water Resources Control Board and the Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board are warning both fishermen and recreational users to stay out of the water. They also urge against eating any conch shell from the lake.

“We have been monitoring the blooms in both the lakes for some time. When certain conditions are favorable for algae and cyanobacteria, they can bloom rapidly,” Barbara Barry, a senior environmental scientist at the Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board, said in an email. substances and may produce taste and odor compounds, which cause health risks to humans and animals.”

Barry said the algae have been blooming in Lake Elsinore for several months, while the blooms at Big Bear began in July.

According to Barry, the high levels of algae were detected through visual observation and laboratory results.

Barry said the Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board collects water samples twice a month at Lake Elsinore and once a month at Big Bear Lake to determine whether toxins are being produced. .

“Recently, the cyanotoxins produced by the blooms began to increase, so we recommended the city of Lake Elsinore and the Big Bear Municipal Water District to post signs warning the public around the lakes,” Barry said.

According to Barry, the last sample of Lake Elsinore was taken on August 9 and Big Bear Lake was sampled on Tuesday. He is hopeful that the results of these samples will come out soon. Conclusion will be published on Incidence report map of harmful algae blooms,

Barry said signs have been posted by lake staff at several public access points around Lake Elsinore. The Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board also recommends that the Big Bear Municipal Water District post warning signs around the lake and danger signs on the Carol Morrison Public Boat Launch on the east side of the lake, where the highest concentration was detected.

According to the warning signs on both lakes, people are encouraged not to swim in the lakes and to stay away from mud and cloudy or discolored water. They also ask that people watch over their pets and children to make sure they don’t get in or drink the water.

No one should eat conch shell from the lake or use its water for drinking or cooking. Barry warns that boiling or filtering the water will not make it safe.

For fish caught in both lakes, fishermen are asked to flush the guts and clean fillets with tap water or bottled water before cooking.

Barry said, “At this time there is no estimate of when cyanotoxin levels will decrease when we would recommend it to be safe for swimming, but we will continue to monitor cyanotoxin levels in the water and inform the public about our findings.” will continue to do so.”

If visitors are exposed to algae, they are encouraged to wash themselves with clean water. They should also practice healthy watering habits by following the directions on all signs in the area.

Barry encourages people to report any suspicion of harmful algae blooms or related diseases mywaterquality.ca.gov/habs/do/bloomreport.html,

“It helps officers understand where problems are occurring and respond appropriately,” Barry said.

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