Blue-green algae levels high in Detroit Lake

Officials monitoring the lake issued a health advisory after toxic levels of the algae were discovered

Detroit Lake, May 18, 2015 (KOIN)
Detroit Lake, May 18, 2015 (KOIN)

DETROIT, Ore. (KOIN) — At Kane’s Marina, the levels for Detroit Lake are so low 400 boat slips are sitting on the river bottom. The brief thunderstorm that rolled through on Monday may be a sign of better things to come.

The dock that would normally be floating on 25 to 30 feet of water is now bone dry. Marina personnel have plans for a beer garden and a live band on shore this weekend, and they may have a bon fire and rain dance in the middle of the marina this summer.

They began the summer season over the weekend with a fishing derby – and a health advisory about the potential for a toxic algae bloom.

Public health toxicologist David Farrer told KOIN 6 News the warm, still water in the lake helps algae grow. A water sample from Detroit Lake taken May 12 showed 7 times the acceptable amounts of toxic algae in it.

Fish from Detroit Lake, May 18 2015 (KOIN)
Fish from Detroit Lake, May 18 2015 (KOIN)

People and pets should avoid the water or they could get sick.

A fisherman on the lake told KOIN 6 News no one should eat the “fat or the guts” of the fish, which are the parts that are affected by the algae.

The toxins can cause diarrhea, nausea, cramps, fainting, numbness, dizziness, tingling and paralysis if swallowed or inhaled. Skin contact can cause rashes or irritation.

Fish are still being pulled from the water, but from a lot higher up than normal. The exposed lake banks look like a desert, and fishermen said they would like to be on the water instead of the dam.

That’s why the rain that fell Monday felt so good.

“You hear the sound of that thunder right there?” said Steve Chittenden of Kane’s Marina. “We’re smiling over that. We really want it.”

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