More information about last week’s algae bloom
It’s been a busy week! The algae bloom that was present last week brought a lot of attention to the lake. Over the last week, several agencies have been taking water samples to determine whether toxins were produced by the algae bloom. We also took an air boat onto the lake to see how widespread the bloom was. Our observations showed that the bloom was contained to the northeast corner of the lake near the Lindon Marina and Vineyard Beach. There was no algae at Utah Lake State Park or along the Saratoga Springs shoreline. The prevailing winds in Utah County almost always come from the southwest, so it makes sense that the algae bloom was isolated in the northeast corner of the lake. Reports yesterday said that the bloom has disappeared, so it should be safe down there.
The Utah Department of Environmental Quality has also been posting updates on the situation on their website. Yes, toxins were present; the levels posed low risk as they barely exceeded safe levels used by other states (Utah currently does not have a set limit for cyanotoxins). However, toxins can have more effect on animals at lower concentrations. The best advice is to avoid recreating in a water that has a noticeable green sheen floating on top. Seems pretty straight-forward.
Algae blooms usually only happen at the end of the summer or early fall, but can occur at other times of the year. The most recent bloom shouldn’t discourage you from visiting the lake this fall and especially next spring and summer. The members and staff of the Utah Lake Commission regularly talk with people who have consistently been recreating on the lake for many years. They have told us that the overall cleanliness and clarity of the lake has noticeably improved over the last few years. As carp and phragmites removal projects continue, the beauty of the lake can only continue to increase. There will occasionally be minor setbacks such as the algae bloom last week, but things will continue to improve.
We encourage everyone to read this article about how Utah Lake could have clear water by 2017. This article about Phragmites Removal also contains good information about the current conditions of the lake. The lake is bigger than a lot of people realize, and there is plenty of space for everyone to enjoy it. It is sad to know that some people spend years living in Utah County without ever visiting the lake.
Utah Lake truly has a rich past and a bright future.