The largest reservoir of water in California, Shasta Lake is one of the latest victims to an algae plague that is sweeping across the nation and world. California state officials are warning people to stay our of the water and avoid any contact with the toxic deadly water that is now enveloping the lake.

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State officials have confirmed that the algae in Shasta Lake is cyanobacteria which releases dangerous and potentially deadly cyanotoxins. According to the EPA. Cyanotoxins can affect the liver (hepatotoxic), the nervous system (neurotoxic) and the skin (acutely dermatotoxic); however, hepatotoxic freshwater blooms of cyanobacteria are more commonly found than neurotoxic blooms throughout the world.”

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For the past month, apocalyptic like toxic algae blooms have formed all along the East Coast, and in lakes which caused Florida to be placed under a state of emergency issued by Florida Governor Rick Scott. This past Friday (July 15, 2016), state officials closed Utah Lake after test results confirmed that a massive algae bloom that now covers approximately 90% of the lake poses “serious health risks” to humans.

Lake Shasta is located in the city of Shasta Lake is a city in Shasta County, California, United States. It is the closest settlement to Lake Shasta and the Shasta Dam, which are popular tourist destinations. Shasta Lake is located in northern California about 10 miles north of Redding, California.

The lake is impounded by Shasta Dam, the ninth tallest dam in the United States. Known as the keystone of the Central Valley Project, the outflow of Shasta Dam provides electricity and irrigation water. It also provides Sacramento River flood control below the dam for the Sacramento Valley.

With a capacity of 4,552,000 acre·ft (5,615,000 dam3) at full pool, the lake has an elevation of 1,067 ft (325 m), and a surface area of 30,000 acres (12,000 ha), making it the state’s largest reservoir, and its third-largest body of water after Lake Tahoe and the Salton Sea. (Wikipedia)

The Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control had issued a warning to the public via Facebook on July 14, 2016;

“Due to its potential health risks, federal, state and county agencies are urging swimmers, boaters and recreational users to avoid direct contact with or use of waters containing blue-green algae (cyanobacteria), now blooming in a reach of the Pit River Arm of Shasta Lake in Northern California.

Sampling has confirmed the presence of cyanobacteria (Anabaena spp.) in the upper Pit River Arm of Shasta Lake approximately between the “No Ski” buoy markers near the middle arm and the buoys at the head of the Pit Arm. Wind and currents can move the bloom in the upper Pit Arm.

The presence of toxins has not been confirmed as toxin testing is currently underway. Until toxin testing results are completed, residents and recreational water users of the Pit River Arm of Shasta Lake are urged to use caution and avoid getting in the water or letting dogs swim near these bloom areas.

The Statewide Guidance on Cyanobacteria and Harmful Algal Blooms recommends the following for blue-green algae impacted waters:
Take care that pets and livestock do not drink the water, swim through algae, scums or mats, or lick their fur after going in the water. Rinse pets in clean water to remove algae from fur.

Avoid wading, swimming, or jet or
water skiing in water containing
algae blooms or scums or mats.

Do not drink, cook or wash dishes with untreated surface water from these areas under any circumstances; common water purification techniques (e.g., camping filters, tablets and boiling) do not remove toxins.

People should not eat mussels or other bivalves collected from these areas. Limit or avoid eating fish from these areas; if fish are consumed, remove guts and liver, and rinse filets in clean drinking water.

Get medical treatment immediately if you think that you, your pet, or livestock might have been poisoned by blue-green algae toxins. Be sure to alert the medical professional to the possible contact with blue-green algae.

For more information, please visit: This photo taken on July 5 on the upper Pit River Arm of Shasta Lake shows the algal bloom, bright green in color, hugging the shoreline.


San Francisco Gate


California Department of Public Health

State Water Resources Control Board – California CyanoHAB Network

CA Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment: Information on Microcystin

US Environmental Protection Agency: CyanoHAB website

US Environmental Protection Agency: Anatoxin-a report

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