With temperatures expected to warm in the coming weeks, boaters, floaters and pet owners need to be aware that the time of year when harmful algae blooms begin to form in Idaho waterways, lakes and ponds, is here.

Idaho is no stranger to poisonous algae blooms. In 2020, Cedar Creek and Thorn Creek Reservoirs in southern Idaho both had reported blooms by the South Central Public Health Department and the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality.

In 2019, toxic blooms were found in the waters of the Magic Reservoir. A video also taken in 2019 at Lake Cascade, north of Boise, shows a massive bloom that boaters sailed through. Entering the water near these algae clusters can be dangerous, and not just to humans.

If ingested, water tainted by these Cyanobacteria blooms can cause severe intestinal reactions, and even death if enough of the bacteria is swallowed. Dogs are also just as susceptible to the harmful effects of poisonous algae blooms.

These blooms, more often than not, resemble splotchy paint drops that float on the surface of Idaho lakes and ponds, and are usually green in color. If you suspect you've come across a bloom of this nature, contact the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), and they will send an officer out to collect water samples.

If you find yourself submerged in an algae bloom, immediately wash your skin and clothes. Inhalation, contact with skin and ingestion are three most common ways humans and animals are sickened when coming into contact with these blooms.

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