Saturday, July 20, 2019

Windsor Lake closed due to suspected blue-green algae outbreak

The Town of Windsor has closed the reservoir to "town-provided recreational activities" due to what it called "an abundance of caution" about a suspected presence of blue-green algae. Fishing is still permitted, but they recommend catch and release.

The Town of Timnath, a few miles to the north, issued a similar warning about its lake Friday, but it's not open to the public outside of town residents.

No reports of similar problems at other area lakes and ponds, but an outbreak is pretty likely. If you see a problem, let the rest of us know with a note to Bill.

The stuff is not a true algae but a form of bacteria. Humans can suffer sore throat, headache, skin irritation, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, nausea and stomach cramps. The stuff's not rare in Colorado; it's generally caused by extended hot weather, which we've had plenty of, and nitrogen runoff from fertilizer.

At minimum, you probably want to wear waders if you go in the water, and keep your dogs away from ponds around here.

What the Town of Windsor has done is stop boat rentals and closed its dog park. Other access is at your own risk.

Fish Explorer website had a Forum posting on July 16 that noted "a strong algae bloom has clouded the water for very low visibility."

To see the complete Windsor town website posting, click here.

This stuff is annoying, but not uncommon in Colorado waters during summer months, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Hard to miss: may look like thick pea soup or spilled paint, can create a thick mat along shorelines, sometimes made up of blobs of slime floating at or just below the water's surface.

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