Hill County Health Warns People about Algal Blooms

HAVRE, Mont. (NMB) – The Hill County Public Health Department wants outdoor recreationists to keep an eye out for harmful algae blooms in our area as the summer heats up. Director Kim Larson says that if people see a suspected harmful algal bloom, they can take a picture and send it to the Health Department via Facebook and they can tell you if it is likely to have the cyanobacteria.

“Beaver Creek Reservoir, which is the First Lake, has had quite a lot of blooms the last two years. And it’s more common than, if they’ve had it before, they’ll continue to have it. What causes it is an increase in nutrients. And then, it’s kind of stagnant water and then the sun beaming down on it and heating it up is what causes that algae to grow.”

Larson says that a harmful algal bloom has a very distinct look to it.

“A harmful algal bloom looks kind of like pea soup, or grass clippings, or latex paint on top of the water. It doesn’t grow up from the bottom like a lot of algae’s and weeds do. And they kind of almost glow. You know, it’s kind of cool looking, but at the same time not because you want to stay away from that.”

Larson says that people and animals should avoid water with a suspected harmful algal bloom as it can produce a neurotoxin. If ingested it can cause vomiting, organ failure, seizures, or death.

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