Algae advisory lifted at Lost Creek Lake

The Oregon Health Authority has lifted its 108-day-long health advisory at Lost Creek Lake after confirming reduced blue-green algae levels and associated toxins.

The state issued its health advisory Sept. 13 when it discovered high levels of anabaena flos-aquae in the lake, created by William L. Jess Dam, 30 miles northeast of Medford on the Rogue River.

The state said the reduced levels are not likely to be harmful to humans and animals.

Since 2010, mid-September blue-green algae blooms have lasted at least until late December, with two lingering into the new year, according to Oregon Health Authority statistics.

Last year's bloom triggered a Sept. 18 advisory lasting 128 days before it was lifted Jan. 24.

Oregon health officials advise people who use Oregon water bodies for recreation to always be alert to signs of algae blooms. People and their pets should avoid contact if the water is foamy, scummy, thick like paint, pea-green, blue-green or brownish red in color, or if a mat of algae is visible in the water.

No confirmed human illnesses have been tied directly to an algae outbreak in Oregon. However, at least four dogs have died in recent years from toxins in water near the Umpqua River near Elkton.

— Greg Stiles

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