Red algae bloom in Swan Lake has residents concerned

LEMMON VALLEY, Nev. (KOLO) - Pictures taken by Lemmon Valley residents show why they are concerned about the color of the water at Swan Lake.

It's called red algae and happens when a common algae starts to bloom. It turns red or orange.

The bloom occurs when there is an overabundance of nutrients like agricultural run-off or even the fecal material from water fowl.

“It is a dry lake. They have made it into a wet lake. And they didn't even bother to create it so that it is safe,” says Tammy Holt-Still, a Lemmon Valley resident.

After the flood of 2017, Swan Lake is an active body of water with plenty of water fowl and fish.

The record number of days in the triple digits has helped the algae prosper. It strangles the lake of oxygen, taking fish with it. Red algae can also be toxic to people and their pets who come in contact with the water. But it must be tested to see what the risk is.

Some of the bloom is located near the treatment plant. Human waste contains plenty of nitrogen and phosphorus which is why Holt-Stilt is anxious to hear what the actual cause is.

The county will begin testing Wednesday and results will be returned to the county in about two weeks.

A red algae bloom occurred last year at Swan Lake but it was not to this level.