Bulletin Staff Report

The Oregon Health Authority has issued a health advisory for portions of Lake Billy Chinook due to the presence of blue-green algae in the lake.

Water monitoring has confirmed the presence of blue-green algae in Perry South Cove on the Metolius arm of Lake Billy Chinook, according to a news release from the health authority. The advisory covers the cove at Perry South Campground down to the southern tip of Three Rivers Island, located downstream in the Metolius arm.

The advisory asks visitors to avoid swimming, water-skiing and engaging in other water-based activities in the contaminated area. People looking to eat fish where the algae clouds are present should remove all fat, skin and organs before cooking, according to the health authority. The toxins cannot be removed by boiling, filtering or treating water with camping-style filters.

Blue-green algae clouds, caused by single-celled organisms that emit toxins, have been a common occurrence in the Jefferson County lake in recent years, with advisories issued in each of the past three years. The bacteria recently triggered a series of water advisories in Salem, after a blue-green algae cloud appeared in Detroit Lake, a source of the city’s drinking water.

The toxins can cause numbness, tingling or dizziness that can lead to heart problems or difficulty breathing. Children and pets are at increased risk for exposure, according to the health authority.

For more information, visit www.healthoregon.org/hab.