Professor warns of algae that could be hazardous to dogs at Almanor

A harmful algal bloom has been occurring in the western basin of Lake Almanor since the middle of October.

Samples were collected by volunteers of Lake Almanor Watershed Group on Nov. 8 and picked up by Dr. Gina Johnston of California State University, Chico. She was at REC. #2 in Lake Almanor Country Club and noticed that the algae were around the boat ramp.

Once she was able to identify the algae as Dolichospermumand Aphanizomenon, two genera of blue-green algae or cyanobacteria that produce toxins), she notified the two country clubs and Scott McReynolds, California Department of Water Resources, as well as posted the information on the state HAB website.

The algae are hazardous to dogs who might swim in the water and then ingest the algae by licking their fur. At this point the bloom is starting to subside but is being concentrated along the western side of the peninsula by winds. If you see algae floating on the surface of the water, it’s best to keep your dog out or rinse it off.

More information about harmful algal blooms (HAB) can be obtained at the website: mywaterquality.ca.gov. More information about the activities of Lake Almanor Watershed Group can be found on the Sierra Institute’s website (sierrainstitute.us). LAWG needs the public’s support to continue to monitor water quality at Lake Almanor.

Dr. Gina Johnston is a retired professor of Limnology and Environmental Sciences from California State University, Chico. Her area of expertise is the chemistry and biology of aquatic systems. She has been conducting water quality investigations at Lake Almanor since 2009. Each year she produces a report that includes an analysis of the data that have been collected by the Lake Almanor Watershed Group. These are available on the Sierra Institute website (sierrainstitute.us).