State sets up information link for algal blooms
August 17, 2016
• Toxic blooms can threaten drinking water supplies
• A number of lakes, reservoirs, and river systems are suffering blooms
Algal blooms – some of them potentially harmful – are popping up around the Central Valley and the state.
Now the state is opening a web portal for answers about the incidents.
The California Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) portal is a new tool that presents information on the health and environmental effects of HABs in California’s lakes, reservoirs, rivers, and marine waters. The goal, the state says, is to provide timely information in an easy-to-understand manner for the public, environmental organizations, and water resource and public health professionals.
Warm temperatures, increased nutrients, and low water flows aggravated by drought conditions and climate change are favoring toxin-producing cyanobacteria and algae. A number of lakes, reservoirs, and river systems are suffering blooms as a result.
Toxic blooms can threaten drinking water supplies and cause wildlife and domestic animal deaths. In humans they can cause a wide range of symptoms, from rashes and allergic reactions to liver damage and even death.
Persistent blooms in Clear Lake, the Klamath watershed, Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, East San Francisco Bay Area lakes, Pinto Lake and others present serious challenges to recreational uses, water supply providers, and water body managers.
The California Cyanobacteria and Harmful Algal Bloom (CCHAB) Network was established in 2006 to provide a forum for coordination of HAB response efforts by agencies, organizations, and tribes dealing with these blooms. The network is now updating guidance on voluntary posting of water bodies experiencing blooms, and has taken responsibility for developing a web data portal on the California Water Quality Monitoring Council’s My Water Quality website.
“We are pleased to collaborate with our state partners in developing the California Harmful Algal Bloom Portal,” says Steven Moore, a member of the State Water Resources Control Board. “Supporting better decision making with timely and accessible information is vital to the protection of public health and California’s natural resources.”