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New research will help identify toxic algae blooms in Northwest waters

Courtesy of Oregon State University
Toxic Microcystis algae grow in a large bloom in the Copco Reservoir on the Klamath River, posing health risks to people, pets and wildlife.

People who go to the lake to recreate often find water sources might not be safe.

The scummy stuff at the top of water and in the water column is often the result of too much phosphorus. It’s unhealthy for what lives in the water and for those who walk and swim in it.

“We know that these blooms are really very prevalent, and they’ve been becoming longer lasting and more intense, and more lakes have become affected,” says Oregon State University researcher Theo Dreher. “And so it’s very relevant in Washington, as it is in Oregon, and really all around the world.”

Researchers at Oregon State University have discovered how to better identify hazardous algae blooms.

Pinpointing which types of algae have toxic genes will be a new way to better identify and remove it from lakes and reservoirs throughout the Northwest. And that will help protect recreational areas and drinking water.

Raised along the Snake River Canyon in southern Idaho, Lauren Paterson reports on culture and socioeconomics in the Pacific Northwest. Her stories focus on working class and tribal communities.