Algae Present in Liberty Lake – Stay Alert

Liberty Lake Residents and Users:

For the past few weeks, there has been a minor algae bloom occuring in the lake. Over the past few days, we have not noticed it subsiding, nor has it gotten worse. However, the forecasted conditions for Saturday, July 11th, include few clouds and a high temperature of 88 degrees F. These are perfect conditions for algae growth to skyrocket. Please be aware of the local water conditions before letting your children or pets enter the water. 

Not all cyanobacteria blooms are toxic. Even blooms caused by known toxin-producing species may not produce toxins or may produce toxins at undetectable levels. Scientists do not know what triggers toxin production by cyanobacteria. However, toxicity is hard to predict in part because a single species of algae can have toxic and non-toxic strains. Also a bloom that tests non-toxic one day can turn toxic the next day. (nwtoxicalgae.org/HealthRisks.aspx)

Algae can control its buoyancy, which allows it to move up and down in the water column. Most days, this means coming to the surface when sun is present, and dropping down during the night/early am. Algae is also very much subject to wind. It can shift around the lake, depending on the wind direction. 

If you see surface scum (thin, oily looking film) or high accumulation of algae on the lake, please take note of the location, snap a photo if you can, and let us know. Those circumstances are what we need to have in order to collect a proper sample for analysis. *There is no way to know if an algae bloom is toxic just by looking at it. Lab analysis is required!*

Contact Jeremy Jenkins, LLSWD Environmental Manager @ jjenkins@libertylake.org with questions or any reports.

Photo taken 7/9/2020. This has not been edited or had any filters applied to it.
Photo taken at WDFW boat launch, 7/7/2020. Note the green hue of the water. The entire lake looked the same.

Helpful Resources
https://www.nwtoxicalgae.org/Gallery.aspx
https://www.doh.wa.gov/CommunityandEnvironment/Contaminants/BlueGreenAlgae
https://www.epa.gov/nutrientpollution/harmful-algal-blooms

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Environmental Manager, Liberty Lake Sewer and Water District. -Lake Management (Water Quality, Plant Management) -Resource Protection (Lake, Aquifer, River) -Education/Outreach
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