SWEETWATER COUNTY — The waters of the Flaming Gorge Reservoir at Swim Beach, Firehole and the Green River brooks arm of the reservoir are being tested for harmful algae blooms.
Final bacterial testing is expected to be complete by Monday, Aug. 24. Harmful cyanobacterial blooms (HCBs) are dense concentrations of cyanobacteria, commonly referred to as blue-green algae, that pose a health risk to people, pets, and livestock, according to the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality.
HCBs typically occur when water temperatures increase in still or slow-moving water, or when wind aggregates cyanobacteria near shorelines. HCBs are generally blue or green in color and may appear as green water, small grass clippings, scum, floating mats, or spilled paint on the water surface. HCBs may also be attached to rocks, sediment, or plants at the bottom of a waterbody. When HCBs form, they may last days, weeks or even months.
People should avoid areas of suspected or known harmful cyanobacterial blooms and keep animals away from them. HCB advisories have been issued for the Big Sand and Eden reservoirs near Farson.
When a harmful bloom is present, the Wyoming Department of Health and Wyoming Livestock Board recommend the following:
— Avoid contact with water in the vicinity of the bloom, especially in areas where cyanobacteria are dense and form scum.
— Do not ingest water from the bloom. Boiling, filtration and/or other treatments will not remove toxins.
— Rinse fish with clean water and eat only the fillet portion.
— Avoid water spray from the bloom.
— Do not allow pets or livestock to drink water near the bloom, eat bloom material or lick fur after contact.
— If people, pets or livestock come into contact with a bloom, rinse off with clean water as soon as possible.
Seek medical attention or a veterinarian if a person or animal is experiencing adverse health effects after exposure to a cyanobacterial bloom. Young children, pregnant women, people with weak immune systems and animals are especially at risk. Questions regarding general health risks and symptoms related to a cyanobacterial bloom can be referred to Dr. Karl Musgrave, state public health veterinarian and environmental health epidemiologist with WDH at 307-777-5825. Health information is also availableat cdc.gov/habs.
For more information, visit WyoHCBs.org.