A blue-green algae bloom in Lawrence Lake near Yelm has recently produced enough toxin to prompt an advisory for the lake that is now in effect. Swimming in water with algae toxins or drinking it can lead to serious illness, so people and pets are advised to stay out of the water at Lawrence Lake, and anglers are reminded that the safest bet during a toxic algae bloom is to catch and release.
Water samples taken from Lawrence Lake in the last week found the algae toxin Anatoxin-a at 191 micrograms per liter of water—well above the state standard of 1 microgram per liter for recreational water use. Signs will be posted at boat launches and public access points around the lake until tests show the algae toxin levels have dropped below the state standard.
“We’re issuing the algae advisory for Lawrence Lake because toxin levels are quite high. We want people to have this information so they can make informed decisions,” said Art Starry, Director of the county’s Environmental Health Division. “Our advice is for people and pets to stay out of the water until the algae bloom goes away, and that catch-and-release is the best bet for avoiding any algae toxins that can build up in a fish’s system.”
While not all algae blooms are toxic, some algae can produce toxins that can harm the nervous system, the liver, the skin, and the stomach and intestines. Experts from the county’s Environmental Health Division recommend a few simple tips to help prevent illness from algae:
- Avoid swimming, wading, wind surfing and water-skiing in waters where algae blooms are present.
- Don’t drink untreated surface water.
- Keep pets and livestock out of waters with algae blooms.
- When fishing, catch-and-release is the safest practice. If you do eat your catch, clean any fish you catch thoroughly. Before eating, remove the internal organs, which may contain harmful algae toxins.
- Avoid areas of scum when boating and clean your boat thoroughly.
WHAT: Algae Advisory for Lawrence Lake—No swimming, no pets, no fishing advised
WHEN: Effective Immediately
WHERE: Lawrence Lake is located about 10 miles south of Yelm. Public boat launch is located at the end of Pleasant Beach Drive SE.
For updates check our Swimming in Thurston County website.