The California Department of Water Resources issued a warning last week against swimming or even touching the waters of Pyramid Lake. This decision was the result of the increased presence of cyanobacteria blooms, a sort of toxic algae.
An official statement on the matter was released on July 07, coupled with a Twitter post.
— CA – DWR (@CA_DWR) July 7, 2017
Cyanobacteria Blooms Lead to “Warning” Status
The decision to raise the safety levels came after authorities tested the waters of the Pyramid Lake Vaquero Day Use Area swim beach. These were verified on July 06 with a field test kit. This returned a reading of 10 micrograms of microcystins per liter.
The increased levels led to the authorities’ decision of raising a “Warning” health advisory. They also decided to close down the swimming area. In general, people should avoid coming into direct contact or using water containing cyanobacteria blooms.
These toxic bacteria can be either blue-green, white or brown. It can also appear as mats, scum, or brown foam floating on the surface of the water or accumulating in boat ramp areas and along the shoreline. The blue-green algae can come with health problems, especially for pets and children.
“Warning” signs have already been raised at the Vaquero Swim Beach, and “Caution” ones are posted in other areas around the lake. These include the Emigrant Landing Swim Beach, which is still open for swimming. The Vaquero Day Use Area is still open for shoreline activities such as picnics.
Pyramid Lake visitors are urged to avoid swimming or ingesting water in the Vaquero Beach bloom region. They should also not swallow water from anywhere else in the lake. Visitors are also advised to choose safe water activities while at the lake.
The cyanobacteria blooms can rapidly change their conditions and be either concentrated or moved into other areas of the lake by the wind and waves.
While field tests provide faster results, samples have been sent in for laboratory testing. These should yield definitive results and an additional analysis of the features of the blooms.
Image Source: Wikimedia