What do blue-green algae blooms look like? A bloom can look green, blue-green, white, or brown and can form a scum on the surface of the water. They can often be found in large concentrations near the shore.
When do blooms occur? Blooms can occur anytime of the year, but are most common between June and September when water temperatures are typically higher. As a result Devils Lake is monitored from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
What should I do if I see a bloom?
• Avoid swimming and water-skiing, where blooms are present.
• Keep pets away.
• If you or your pet have contacted the affected water, wash thoroughly with a clean source of water.
• Do not use for drinking or cooking. Toxins cannot be removed with filtration, boiling or chemical treatments.
• Activities near the water such as camping, picnicking, biking, and hiking are safe.
• Boating at slower speeds is safe provided excessive spray is not created and thus inhaled.
How do I know if a bloom is toxic? Blue-green algae blooms cannot be determined toxic just by looking at them. Testing is required.
For information about about potential toxicity, look for signage at lake access points, sign-up for our email service, and/or bookmark this webpage to see the very latest water quality updates.
It is important to note, that blooms can form rapidly and water quality can change as result. Blooms may develop between monitoring visits. Also while the District samples for one of the most common cyanotoxins, Microcystin, other toxins may exist. Therefore, always watch and stay clear of algal blooms and scummy water.
If in doubt…stay out!
How dangerous are these algal toxins? Skin contact can cause rashes or irritation. Significant Ingestion or inhalation can lead to diarrhea, nausea, cramps, fainting, numbness, dizziness, tingling,and in rare cases, paralysis and death. Children and pets are most at risk.
What about fishing? Eating fish caught during a bloom can pose an unknown health risk. Thoroughly cleaning a fish of its guts, skin and head before cooking reduces the risk. For additional information about fish consumption contact the Oregon Health Authority.