Swimming, boating, skiing and other water-based activities are great ways to beat the summer heat, but water users should look to see if visible algal blooms are present in areas where they or their pets or livestock may come into contact with the water.
Most algae don’t reach nuisance levels or become harmful to human and animal health. A harmful algal bloom (HAB) can occur, however, when certain microorganisms produce toxic substances. Public health agencies refer to these organisms as cyanobacteria.
Public health officials recently issued an advisory about two blooms in Hells Canyon, one near Idaho Power’s Woodhead Park on Brownlee Reservoir, and another near Big Bar on Hells Canyon Reservoir. These advisories are common summertime occurrences in Idaho and across the country. The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality maintains an online map detailing recreation water-quality health advisories.
Additional information about the source of algae blooms and how to spot them can be found on Idaho Power’s website under Water Information.