Lemolo Lake free of dangerous algae

A seven-week health advisory against contact with Lemolo Lake water is over now that the lake is free of toxic algae that bloomed there in early July.

State, county and federal officials lifted the public-use restrictions at the Douglas County lake late Tuesday after tests showed levels of blue-green algae to be below World Health Organization safety guidelines.

Since July 10, the Umpqua National Forest and the Oregon Department of Human Services have suggested no water contact for people and pets due to the bloom of anabeana flos-aque.

At the time, the bloom was 17 times greater than what state toxicologists consider to be healthy.

This algae strain, which is actually a form of bacteria, releases neurotoxins that can cause everything from a skin rash and dizziness to rapid death, though documented reactions are rare in Oregon.

It is most threatening to children and pets, and it congregates most in shallow, stagnant coves and along shorelines.

Though not mandatory, recommendations to visitors were to avoid all water contact and to practice catch-and-release fishing.

— Mark Freeman

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