UTAH

Harmful algal blooms still a danger in winter and will affect waterfowl hunt

Oct 4, 2022, 11:45 AM | Updated: 5:00 pm

FILE: Jeff Mortensen guides the boat Odyssia through algal blooms in Utah Lake toward a boat ramp a...

FILE: Jeff Mortensen guides the boat Odyssia through algal blooms in Utah Lake toward a boat ramp at the Lindon Marina in Vineyard on Monday, July 19, 2021. (Kristin Murphy/Deseret News)

(Kristin Murphy/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Before stepping into the boat and onto the water this fall for geese or duck harvesting, make sure the body of water is clean.  Although many waterfowl hunts opened for the season on Oct. 1, the biggest threat to the game may be the cleanliness of the water due to algal blooms.

Currently, there are 16 bodies of water under warning advisory, and one waterbody under danger advisory according to a press release from the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.

Algal blooms are caused by naturally occurring cyanobacteria, blue-green algae that multiply to high densities and form visible water discoloration, scum and mats according to the press release. 

What to look for

The algal blooms do not stop during the fall or winter time, and they can produce several kinds of toxins that can affect liver, nerve and skin tissue and prove to be fatal in humans and animals.

Because there are so many bodies of water that pose a threat, Utah Department of Environmental Quality Communications Director Ashley Sumner said in a press release, “When in doubt, keep your pets and hunting dogs out of the water.” Even with veterinary care, most exposures are fatal. 

The DWR advised that harmful algal blooms can look like pea soup, spilled paint, grass clippings or water that has a green or blue-green hue. 

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Harmful algal blooms still a danger in winter and will affect waterfowl hunt