Warmer water favors Harmful Algae Blooms


With summer approaching, the City of Canyon Lake would like to remind residents that Harmful Algal Blooms (HAB) usually bloom during the warm summer season or when water temperatures are warmer than usual.

Warmer water favors harmful algae in a number of ways. Toxins from these blooms can be harmful to people and pets if they come in contact. Residents are reminded to be aware of their surroundings in the water and stay away from water that looks green or scummy and smells bad.

Harmful Algal Blooms are a major environmental problem in all 50 states. Harmful Algal Blooms are overgrowths of algae in water. Some produce dangerous toxins in fresh or marine water but even nontoxic blooms hurt the environment and local economies. Harmful Algal Blooms can appear as a foam, scum, or mat on or just below the surface of the water, and can take on various colors depending on their pigments. Cyanobacteria blooms in freshwater lakes or rivers may appear bright green, often with surface streaks which look like floating paint. Similarly, red tides made up of dinoflagellates also contain photosynthetic pigments that vary in color from green to brown to red. Most blooms occur in warm waters that have excessive nutrients.

What are the effects of HAB?

The harmful effects from such blooms are due to the toxins they produce or from using up oxygen in the water, which can lead to fish die-offs. Not all algal blooms are harmful; however, with some only discoloring water, producing a smelly odor, or adding a bad taste to the water.

What Can HAB do?

Harmful Algal Blooms can produce extremely dangerous toxins that can sicken or kill people and animals, create dead zones in the water, raise treatment costs for drinking water and hurt industries that depend on clean water.

What causes HAB?

The development and proliferation of algal blooms likely result from a combination of environmental factors including available nutrients, temperature, sunlight, ecosystem disturbance, hydrology and the water chemistry. Nutrient pollution from human activities makes the problem worse, leading to more severe blooms that occur more often.

What does HAB need?

Harmful Algal Blooms need sunlight, slow-moving water and nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus).

Unfortunately, it is not possible to tell if a bloom is harmful from just appearances since sampling and microscopic examination is required.

The City of Canyon Lake does not own, control, or maintain Canyon Lake, which is owned by Elsinore Valley Municipal Water District and leased by the Canyon Lake POA. If you believe you have come in contact with Harmful Algal Blooms, contact the POA at 951-244-6841 or Elsinore Valley Municipal Water District at 951-674-3146.