CULVER, Ore. - The Oregon Health Authority on Monday updated and reduced the area covered by the blue-green algae health advisory issued June 30 for Lake Billy Chinook, located 12 miles west of Madras in Jefferson County.
The update lifts the advisory on those areas of the Deschutes and Crooked River of Lake Billy Chinook arms affected by the advisory, and confines the advisory on the Metolius Arm to Perry South Cove.
Officials said water monitoring has confirmed that the level of blue-green algae toxins are below guideline values for human exposure. However, OHA recommended that people remain cautious when using the lake, particularly with pets, because toxins are still well above the very low exposure levels established for dogs.
Oregon health officials advise recreational visitors to always be alert to signs of algae blooms in all Oregon waters, because only a fraction of the many lakes and waterways in Oregon are sampled for blue-green algae by state, federal and local agencies.
People and their pets should avoid areas where the water is foamy, scummy, thick like paint, pea-green, blue-green or brownish red in color, if a thick mat of blue-green algae is visible in the water, or bright green cells are suspended in the water column. If you observe these signs in the water, you are encouraged to avoid activities that cause you to swallow water or inhale droplets, such as swimming or high-speed water activities.
For health information, to report human or pet illnesses due to blooms, or to ask questions about a news release, contact the Oregon Health Authority at 971-673-0400. For information about advisories issued or lifted for the season, contact the Oregon Public Health toll-free information line at 1-877-290-6767 or visit the Harmful Algae Blooms website at http://healthoregon.org/hab and select "Algae Bloom Advisories."