Officials lift caution advisory of algae blooms in Lake Oroville

Officials are warning those using Lake Oroville avoid algae or scum in the Middle Fork of the lake.

Posted: Jun 18, 2019 10:06 PM
Updated: Jul 6, 2019 11:57 AM

UPDATE 11:50 a.m. Saturday, July 6, 2019 - Officials have lifted the caution advisory for algae blooms in the Middle Fork of the lake.

This comes after lab tests found no toxins in the blooms though visitors are still advised to avoid algae or scum in the water. This algae can potentially be hazardous to pets and people, especially children.

UPDATE 6:47 p.m. Wednesday, June 20, 2019 - The Department of Water Resources says the Caution Advisory at the Thermalito Afterbay has been lifted. The advisory remains in place for the Middle Fork. Representatives at the DWR say if you spot algae at any waterbody, Lake Oroville or otherwise, please exercise caution. 

Healthy water habits are encouraged for everyone recreating in water bodies this summer:

  • Follow all posted advisories
  • Stay away from algae and scum in the water and on shore
  • Watch children and pets closely
  • Do not let pets and other animals go into the water, drink the water, or eat scum and algal accumulations on the shore
  • Do not drink the river or lake water
  • Do not cook or wash dishes with river or lake water
  • Wash yourself and your family, including your pets, with clean water after swimming. Be sure to wash your hands before eating
  • If you have concerns regarding your family’s health, contact your healthcare provider immediately
  • If you catch fish, throw away guts and clean fillets with tap water or bottled water before cooking
  • Avoid eating shellfish from affected areas

The crucial first step to staying safe during an outing on or near a waterway is to distinguish cyanobacteria from other algae and non-toxic water plants. HABs can be a variety of colors such as green, white, red or brown and may look like thick paint floating on the water. Not all HABs will appear on the water’s surface. Some form mats at the bottom of a waterbody (such as in wadeable
rivers), and others float at various depths. 

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OROVILLE, Calif. - Officials are warning those using Lake Oroville that there are harmful algae blooms at the Middle Fork.

However, many people are still heading to the lake unaware of the potential danger. 

Up and down Lake Oroville, Action News Now spoke with people who said they did not know about the caution advisory for dangerous algae blooms. 

"I'm probably going to stay out of the water," said Saul Diaz, a lake-goer. "I'm not planning to get sick any time now."

The California State Water Board said it's the microbes in the water combined with high temperatures that can cause the blooms. 

Children and dogs are most likely to be affected because of their smaller body size and tendency to stay in the water longer. 

Symptoms include eye irritation, skin rash and vomiting. Pets may show difficulting breathing, muscle twitching, and can die in some cases. 

"If we have any issues with our skin, nasal passage, we might need to go to the doctor and have it checked out," said Jenni Quadros, a lake-goer. 

The state board advises everyone to avoid algae and scum in the water. The board warns people to not drink the water or use it for cooking. 

Additionally, people who are fishing should throw away the guts and clean the fillets with tap or bottled water before eating, the board said. 

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