When in doubt, stay out: DEQ reports harmful algal bloom at Duck Creek

INDEPENDENT RECORD

The Montana Department of Environmental Quality on Tuesday issued a caution advisory for a harmful algal bloom in Duck Creek on Canyon Ferry Reservoir and advised people and their pets to stay out of the water.

Harmful algal blooms (HAB) most often occur in Montana’s reservoirs and lakes, although people should also be cautious about water flowing immediately downstream of a bloom, the DEQ warns.  When harmful toxins are present it is best for people and pets to stay out of the water to avoid contact.

Canyon Ferry, Hauser Reservoir, Holter Reservoir, and Lake Helena commonly have such blooms, officials said.

Harmful algal blooms happen when cyanobacteria, also known as blue green algae, rapidly grow out of control. These organisms are native to Montana and are naturally found at low, safe densities in many freshwater systems. The blooms can form under certain conditions including when too many nutrients are available, when winds are low and water is calm, when the sky is clear and sunny, and when the growing season is long or hot, the DEQ states.

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When in doubt, it’s best to stay out, officials advised.

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