Water advisory lifted at Lost Creek

TRAIL — Lost Creek Lake had its scarlet "A" officially removed Monday when public health officials — buoyed by reports proving that its toxic algae bloom was over — lifted the advisory against water contact there.

Waterskiers, swimmers and anglers were officially invited back to Jackson County's largest and most popular reservoir in plenty of time to plan visits there during the Fourth of July weekend — one of the busiest of the summer boating season.

Health officials from the state Department of Human Services and Jackson County agreed to lift the volunteer restrictions Monday morning after reviewing results showing very low levels of anabaena flos-aquae and extremely low or undetectable levels of two toxins associated with the algae.

It is the fourth time in four years that the lake has been under the grip of advisories against water contact by people and pets as well as recommendations against eating fish caught there. At two weeks, this advisory was the shortest. Last fall's advisory lasted four months.

"This worked out very well for all involved, especially when you consider how long the previous year's (advisory) lasted," said Jackson Baures, the county's environmental health program manager.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers operates the lake off Highway 62 about 35 miles north of Medford.

The Corps has tested lake water released through Lost Creek dam and found extremely low levels of the algae during blooms, said Jim Buck, the Corps' Rogue River Basin project manager.

Generally, the algae blooms and collects in more shallow, stagnant waters such as swimming areas, said Laura Boswell, coordinator of the state's Harmful Algae Bloom Surveillance program.

Most water released from the dam gets drawn below the surface, where Boswell said algae concentrations tend to be extremely low.

However, DHS suggests that residents who draw water downstream from an algae-infested lake should drink bottled water until the advisory is lifted, Boswell said.

DHS's drinking-water program is in the midst of developing guidelines for water-system operators dealing with algae blooms in their water sources, Boswell said.

Reach reporter Mark Freeman at 776-4470 or e-mail mfreeman@mailtribune.com.

Share This Story