Toxic Slime In Lake

Potentially deadly algae is blooming in two lakes near the Oregon border, prompting health warnings and calls for the demolition of dams that form the reservoirs along the Klamath River.

The blue-green algae is growing for the third consecutive summer
in Iron Gate Reservoir and Copco Lake.

Federal, state, local and tribal officials are warning swimmers and boaters to stay away from the algae blooms in the Siskiyou County lakes between Yreka and Ashland, Ore. The blooms appear blue, green, white or brown and can be found in foam, scum or mats floating on the water.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency warned this week that contact with the algae can produce skin rashes, mouth ulcers, vomiting, diarrhea or cold- and flulike symptoms. In rare cases, liver failure or death can result.

Pets and young children are most at risk because they are most likely to swallow or inhale the toxic slime, the EPA said. The health warning renewed calls from the Karuk Tribe to demolish the dams that form the reservoirs on the Klamath River.

Tribal leaders, along with environmental and fishing organizations, say Portland, Ore.-based PacifiCorp should destroy the dams to improve declining salmon runs.

PacifiCorp provides more than 1.6 million customers with energy from coal, hydro, renewable wind power, gas-fired combustion turbines, solar and geothermal sources.


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