ENVIRONMENT

More algae blooms in Utah might pop up because of the warm temperatures

Mar 22, 2024, 6:00 PM | Updated: Mar 25, 2024, 7:48 pm

Warmer weather could mean Utah sees more toxic algae blooms this spring and summer....

A fisherman disassembles his pontoon boat at Utah Lake's Lincoln Beach on Tuesday, June 23, 2020. The Utah Lake Commission and partners are pilot-testing two different treatments for algae at the lake. Lindon Marina and Lincoln Beach marina will both undergo treatments this summer. Both locations will be accessible for recreation use and the difference in water quality will be noticeable.

SALT LAKE CITY — In Utah, Algae blooms aren’t typically on the radar until the summer. But experts are keeping a close eye on conditions this year.

“Some factors we look at this early are: What’s our spring runoff going to look like and what is our seasonal temperature forecast looking like?” said Hannah Bonner, an environmental scientist for the Division of Water Quality.

The spring outlook shows warmer-than-average temperatures for spring.  This could mean that algae blooms will show up sooner or grow bigger in Utah reservoirs.

“Increasing temperatures in our springs and summers do create those environments,” said Bonner.

Some of Utah’s shallower bodies of water like Utah Lake and Mantua Reservoir are especially prone to the blooms because shallower water heats up more quickly.

“Bacteria tends to grow quicker and is happier when there are warmer temperatures,” said Bonner.

The saving grace could be our snowpack. The more runoff we get, the deeper and cooler our lakes will be. This could keep the algae blooms at bay a little longer.

However, more runoff means more chances of water being contaminated by bacteria.

If there is a strange color to the water or there are plumes that resemble pea soup, it’s best to stay out of the water.

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More algae blooms in Utah might pop up because of the warm temperatures