Lemolo is latest lake hit by toxic algae

Lemolo Lake in eastern Douglas County this week became the fifth Oregon water body where blue-green algae blooms have prompted a state advisory against any contact with the water.

The Anabaena flos-aquae bloom there prompted state and county officials to warn against contact by humans or pets until further notice.

This algae strain releases neurotoxins that can cause everything from a skin rash and dizziness to rapid death, though that is extremely rare.

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

The Umpqua National Forest has recommended that visitors avoid water contact and to practice catch-and-release fishing until the advisory is lifted.

Swallowing or inhaling water droplets should be avoided, as well as skin contact with water by humans or animals. The toxins cannot be removed by boiling, filtering or treating water.

The restrictions were not mandatory.

Protocols drafted by the World Health Organization call for leaving the advisory in place until two weeks after the algae disappears. The algae releases its toxins as it dies, so the extra time allows for the toxins to dissipate naturally.

A similar advisory begins its second week at Lost Creek Lake, where high levels of the Anabaena flos-aquae were discovered in mid-June.

An advisory also was issued last week at Willow Reservoir in Eastern Oregon. Previous advisories this spring have been issued and lifted at Hills Creek Reservoir near Eugene and at Detroit Lake near Salem.

For more information, visit http://oregon.gov/DHS/ph/envtox/maadvisories.shtml on the Web.

HUNTERS ICED OUT of the controlled-hunt lottery can get in line early Sunday for one of 654 leftover deer and elk tags that will go on sale on a first-come, first-served basis.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife will hold its annual leftover tag sale beginning at 10 a.m. at more than 500 Point of Sale licensing outlets statewide.

These unallocated tags were left over from the ODFW's controlled-hunt lottery in mid-June. They are for hunts where there were more tags available than applicants.

To see a list of the hunts and the numbers of available tags, check the ODFW's Web site at http://www.dfw.state.or.us and click on the first entry under "Hot Topics."

OREGON LAST WEEK quietly became the 33rd state to ban cyber hunting.

Gov. Ted Kulongoski signed into law a bill that bans the shooting of animals by use of cameras or the Internet anywhere in Oregon.

With the support of hunting and animal-rights groups, Senate Bill 490 sailed unanimously through both chambers of the Oregon Legislature.

The law specifically requires the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission to write rules that would prohibit anyone in the state from using the Web or closed-circuit media to remotely control a weapon used to shoot animals.

Already ODFW biologists have worked on draft language of the new rules, which could be passed later this summer and added to the upcoming 2008 Big Game Regulations booklet.

The law was in response to a Texas man's now aborted Internet business of having participants shoot live exotic animals using remote-controlled cameras and a gun stationed on a platform at a Texas game ranch in 2005.

Only one man — a quadriplegic man from Indiana — shot an animal over the Internet at the time, but the cyberhunting issue touched off a firestorm of debate about the ethics of such practices.

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

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