Every summer, the Copco and Iron Gate reservoirs turn pea-soup green, courtesy a toxic algae bloom that bleeds out into the Klamath River and has been detected all the way to the ocean.
Watching the water quality board post signs on both the lakes and the Klamath river telling people (and pets) to avoid contact with the water sorta belies the myth among dam removal opponents that the four lower Klamath River dams are actually good for salmon. The lakes trap the Klamath’s nutrient rich water and warm it, leading to these toxic algae blooms.
This press release from the Karuk Tribe tells us it’s happened yet again:
Happy Camp, CA – In what has become an annual ritual, water quality officials are posting the Klamath Reservoirs and River with warnings to avoid contact with the water due to blooms of the toxic algae Microcystis aeruginosa. Posted areas include Copco Reservoir, Iron Gate Reservoir, and the river itself downstream to Turwar on the Yurok Reservation.
Microcystis aeruginosa secretes the toxin microcystin with is a known tumor promoter and liver toxin. Expsoure to high levels of microcystin can lead to organ failure and death.
In response to the recurring blooms, officials from the California Water Quality Control Board and the Office of Environmental Health and Hazard Assessment formed a Blue Green Algae (BGA) Work Group. The BGA Work Group recently published a document to provide guidance to local health officials dealing with toxic algae blooms.
It’s just one more toxic green reason to kick those dams to the curb now.
See you avoiding direct contact (until the weather cools), Tom Chandler.
The battle to restore the Klamath remains fully in effect; more information is available at KlamathRestoration.org.