Monthly Archive: October 2011

Potentially Toxic Algae Seen Again

by Gayle Garman, FOGL President

algae2-2011sepOn Thurs. Sept. 29 Green Lake residents Karen and Michael Schurr observed algae scums on the east side of Green Lake, and shot pictures. By Friday, the wind had disbursed the algae and nothing could be seen. Algae blooms happen periodically year-round, and can be dangerous for pets and small children if found to be toxic, according to the King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks (DNR).

Earlier this year several blue-green algae scums were tested and found to include Microcystis and Anabaena, both of which can produce toxins. “This does not seem to indicate an acute health or safety risk at this time because the levels were below the DNR guidelines,” Sally Abella of King County DNR said at the time. “However, because the algae were somewhat dispersed by the time we investigated, it is quite possible that the state threshold could have been exceeded if a true scum had been sampled.”

So it is important to get pictures and samples as soon as possible after the scums are seen. Abella has put out a call for volunteers to lend a hand.

“Does anyone walk around the lake frequently? If so, could you carry a pint-sized jar or container with you (clean glass) to be able to scoop up a sample if you see a distinct scum? We would need the location as closely as you can describe it and the date/time of the sample. Of course, a picture of the site is worth gold! If you do take a sample, refrigerate it ASAP and email me [or you can call FOGL at 206-525-1974, ed.] so we can coordinate a toxicity test with Dept of Ecology and the King County Environmental Lab.”

Photos by Karen Schurralgae1-2011sep