health officials are reminding community residents to be on the
lookout for harmful algal blooms after a report was made of a person
becoming ill following time spent in the South Fork Eel River north
of Weott. State staff is currently taking water samples at this
location and will post warnings on the shore.
news comes days after testing confirmed cyanobacteria, also referred
to as blue-green algae or harmful algal blooms (HABs), was found at a
location in the main stem of the Trinity River east of Willow Creek
and likely contributed to a dog’s death earlier this month.
can be present in any fresh water body and looks like green,
blue-green, white or brown scum, foam or mats floating on the water.
Warm water and abundant nutrients can cause algae to grow more
rapidly than usual and these floating algal masses or “blooms”
can produce natural toxins that are potent and dangerous. Dogs and
children are most likely to be affected because of their smaller body
size and tendency to stay in the water for longer periods.
flows along several local rivers including the South Fork Eel, Van
Duzen and Mad Rivers, coupled with sustained high temperatures in the
inland areas and record low rainfall have created the ideal
conditions for rapid blooming of this harmful algae.
2001, there have been 12 documented dog deaths locally where the dogs
died shortly after swimming in Big Lagoon, the South Fork Eel River
or the Van Duzen River. In each instance, water samples confirmed the
presence of cyanobacteria in the water.
algal blooms in California contain harmless green algae, however, it
is difficult to test and monitor the many miles of local rivers with
conditions that readily change. To stay safe, it is best to assume
that an algal bloom has the potential to contain toxins.
in people may include eye irritation, skin rash, mouth ulcers,
vomiting, diarrhea and cold or flu-like symptoms. Following exposure
to harmful algal blooms, symptoms in dogs may include lethargy,
difficulty breathing, salivation, vomiting, urination, diarrhea or
following guidelines are recommended for recreational users of all
children, pets and livestock from swimming in or drinking water
containing algal scums or mats.
should also avoid wading and swimming in water containing algal
blooms. Try not to swallow or inhale water spray in an algal bloom
no algal scums or mats are visible, you should still carefully watch
young children and warn them not to swallow any water.
should be consumed only after removing the guts and liver and
rinsing fillets in tap water.
drink, cook with or wash dishes with water from rivers, streams or
medical attention immediately if you think that you, your pet or
livestock might have been poisoned by cyanobacteria toxins. Be sure
to tell the doctor or veterinarian about possible contact with
cyanobacteria or algal blooms.
or support one of the many watershed and river organizations.
learn more about cyanobacteria and HABs, visit the state of
California’s website at mywaterquality.ca.gov/habs.
learn more about cyanobacteria and algae on the South Fork Eel River,
report a bloom, e-mail [email protected]
or call 844-729-6466 (toll free). Blooms can also be reported via the
“bloomWatch” app which is available for free download on iTunes
or Google play.
information on conditions occurring within Humboldt County, contact
the Humboldt County Department of Health & Human Services
Division of Environmental Health at 707-445-6215 or 800-963-9241.
Photos of suspected blooms can also be emailed to