Toxic Algae Found in Reservoir Near Twin Falls


  • Idaho Department of Environmental Quality
  • Watch out for this stuff.

Salmon Falls Creek Reservoir
 seems to have found the perfect recipe for blue-green algae that produces toxins: Take one warming, slow-moving lake, add an elevated level of phosphorous and maybe some nitrogen, and let it brew.

This combination has health and environment officials warning the public to beware of the water, according to the Twin Falls Times-News.

Laboratory tests confirmed the presence of the algae, which is common in nature, but this is the first time a warning has been issued for the lake. The algae tends to hug shorelines, but few species release this sort of toxin, which has been known to kill dogs and sicken people.

It was blamed for killing several dogs along the Snake River near Burley in 2000. The toxin can cause muscle spasms, decreased movement, labored breathing, convulsions and death in animals. Symptoms have not been documented in humans.

The Department of Environmental Quality continues to test the water and says falling temperatures are helping, but still warns recreationists to keep their children and pets from splashing around and drinking water near the shore. Fish caught in the lake should be stripped of skin, fat and organs before cooking. The toxin cannot be removed by boiling water.