Blue Green Algae bloom at North end of Hayden Lake. Photo Courtesy of Panhandle Health District

A health advisory was issued today for Hayden Lake by the Panhandle Health District and Idaho Department of Environmental Quality. Water samples confirmed the presence of blue-green algae (Anabaena sp.) This species can produce potentially dangerous toxins. This algal bloom was identified in the northern end (Sportsman Park area) of the lake.

Public health officials are asking people to evaluate the water conditions before recreating in or near the lake. In areas where water is an uncharacteristic green color or areas with thick, green mats along shorelines, take extra precaution. Avoid inhaling, swallowing or direct contact with water containing algae. Drinking water from the lake may be dangerous if toxins are present and they cannot be removed by boiling or filtering the water.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), symptoms of exposure are not documented in humans; however, in animals, a toxin produced by Anabaena sp. can cause a rapid progression of neurological symptoms such as muscle spasm, decreased movement, labored breathing, convulsions and death.

The algae is only affecting the northern end of the lake right now. Honeysuckle Beach is not currently affected by this bloom. People are encouraged to enjoy other activities near the lake including camping, hiking, biking and bird watching. If people do choose to eat the fish from this area, it is recommended that you remove all fat, skin and organs before cooking since toxins are more likely to collect in those tissues.

At this time, Fernan Lake and Avondale Lake also have active health advisories for toxic blue-green algae. There are many species that naturally occur in Idaho surface waters and only some species release toxins under certain conditions. Anabena sp. blooms occur in water conditions of optimal temperature, oxygen and when nitrogen is unavailable and phosphorus is abundant.

Environmental Related Questions Contact: Idaho Department of Environmental Quality 208-769-1422

Health Related Questions Contact: Panhandle Health District, Erik Ketner 208-415-5224