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Blue-Green Algae (Cyanobacteria)

Algae, including blue-green algae (aka cyanobacteria), is a normal inhabitant of many water environments. Certain conditions, such as high temperatures and elevated nutrient concentrations allow algae to grow more rapidly than usual creating mats or blooms. Most algae is harmless; however, some species of blue-green algae can produce toxins which create health effects for humans and animals.

Throughout the summer, Sonoma County Environmental Health & Safety monitors water quality, including bacteria levels, along the Russian River.

Blue-green Algae Toxins Detected in Russian River: July 26, 2017

Blue-green Algae Update: July 26, 2017 (PDF: 129 Kb)

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Blue-green algae caution sign(PDF: 607 Kb)

Healthy water habits for recreational river use:

  • Do not drink river water. Do not cook or wash dishes with river water.
  • Wash yourself and your family, including any pets, with clean water after river play.
  • Keep dogs away from algae in the river and on the shoreline. Dogs like to eat things and are known to preferentially seek out blue-green algae – they may find something that is otherwise hidden. Be aware of this in deciding how you supervise your dog. Allow your dog to enjoy the open water and keep them away from patches of algae.
  • Bring your life jacket, but leave the alcohol at home. The side effects of alcohol - impaired judgment, reduced balance, poor coordination - can be magnified by the boating environment.
  • If you have concerns regarding your family or pet's health, contact your healthcare provider or veterinarian.

Blue Green Algae Water Testing Results

The Russian River is a moving body of water. The conditions detected from our water testing at any of the beaches listed below may be present at all beaches throughout the river. We are concerned about conditions along the entire Russian River.

Cloverdale River Park Beach

Date Collected:July 24, 2017
Anatoxin-a0.16 μg/L
Cylindrospermopsin0 μg/L
Microcystin0 μg/L
Beach Status:Open

Beach is open with caution advised. Potentially harmful algae may be present. Care should be taken to keep children and pets away from algae and prevent them from drinking river water.

Del Rio Woods Beach

Date Collected:July 24, 2017
Anatoxin-a0.15 μg/L
Cylindrospermopsin0 μg/L
Microcystin0 μg/L
Beach Status:Open

Beach is open with caution advised. Potentially harmful algae may be present. Care should be taken to keep children and pets away from algae and prevent them from drinking river water.

Camp Rose Beach

Date Collected:July 24, 2017
Anatoxin-a0 μg/L
Cylindrospermopsin0 μg/L
Microcystin0 μg/L
Beach Status:Open

Beach is open with caution advised. Potentially harmful algae may be present. Care should be taken to keep children and pets away from algae and prevent them from drinking river water.

Healdsburg Veterans Beach

Date Collected:July 24, 2017
Anatoxin-a0 μg/L
Cylindrospermopsin0 μg/L
Microcystin0 μg/L
Beach Status:Open

Beach is open with caution advised. Potentially harmful algae may be present. Care should be taken to keep children and pets away from algae and prevent them from drinking river water.

Steelhead Beach

Date Collected:July 24, 2017
Anatoxin-a0 μg/L
Cylindrospermopsin0 μg/L
Microcystin0 μg/L
Beach Status:Open

Beach is open with caution advised. Potentially harmful algae may be present. Care should be taken to keep children and pets away from algae and prevent them from drinking river water.

Forestville Access Beach

Date Collected:July 24, 2017
Anatoxin-a0 μg/L
Cylindrospermopsin0 μg/L
Microcystin0 μg/L
Beach Status:Open

Beach is open with caution advised. Potentially harmful algae may be present. Care should be taken to keep children and pets away from algae and prevent them from drinking river water.

Sunset Beach

Date Collected:July 24, 2017
Anatoxin-a0 μg/L
Cylindrospermopsin0 μg/L
Microcystin0 μg/L
Beach Status:Open

Beach is open with caution advised. Potentially harmful algae may be present. Care should be taken to keep children and pets away from algae and prevent them from drinking river water.

Johnson's Beach

Date Collected:July 24, 2017
Anatoxin-a0 μg/L
Cylindrospermopsin0 μg/L
Microcystin0 μg/L
Beach Status:Open

Beach is open with caution advised. Potentially harmful algae may be present. Care should be taken to keep children and pets away from algae and prevent them from drinking river water.

Monte Rio Beach

Date Collected:July 24, 2017
Anatoxin-a0 μg/L
Cylindrospermopsin0 μg/L
Microcystin0 μg/L
Beach Status:Open

Beach is open with caution advised. Potentially harmful algae may be present. Care should be taken to keep children and pets away from algae and prevent them from drinking river water.

Patterson Point

Date Collected:July 24, 2017
Anatoxin-a0.14 μg/L
Cylindrospermopsin0 μg/L
Microcystin0 μg/L
Beach Status:Open

Beach is open with caution advised. Potentially harmful algae may be present. Care should be taken to keep children and pets away from algae and prevent them from drinking river water.

Download 2017 test results - all locations

State Trigger Levels

LevelAnatoxin-aCylindrospermopsinMicrocystin
CautionAny detected1 μg/L0.8 μg/L
Warning20 μg/L4 μg/L6 μg/L
Danger90 μg/L17 μg/L20 μg/L

Source: State Water Resources Control Board

All levels are in μg/L.

Related Links

Algal Blooms
Source: California Department of Public Health.

California Cyanobacteria and Harmful Algal Bloom (CCHAB) Network
Source:California Water Quality Monitoring Council.

Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB)-Associated Illness
Source: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Contact Information

Public Health Division
County of Sonoma
Business Hours
Monday – Friday
7:30 AM – 4:30 PM
Address
Office Location
625 5th Street
Santa Rosa, CA 95404
38.44178, -122.7158781

Report a Complaint, Hazard or Nuisance

 

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