Bloomin’ algae

Blue-green algae bloom in Lake Oroville is nontoxic, testing finds

A bloom of blue-green algae in Lake Oroville is nontoxic but should be avoided, according to the California Department of Water Resources (DWR).

Blue-green algae occurs naturally in the lake, said Eric See, an Oroville-based biologist with DWR. When it blooms in high concentration, it can produce a toxin that makes people sick. Recent testing shows that this bloom, in a remote section of the middle fork of the Feather River, isn’t currently dangerous.

“Nonetheless, people do boat in that area,” See said, “and we’re telling them to stay away from it—do not contact the green water.”

The bloom likely will dissipate in a few weeks. Meanwhile, DWR has posted cautionary signs at boat ramps and the Lake Oroville Marina. Similar warnings are posted at Lake Shasta, where testing revealed low concentrations of the dangerous neurotoxin anatoxin-a.