While fishing or camping near local reservoirs be on the lookout for Algae


August 12, 2020

On September 1 of 2019, Blaine County was notified of a death to a lady’s 10 month old puppy after drinking water immediately below the outflow of Cow Creek Reservoir. A few days later a qualitative water sample test was positive for the presence of microcystin, a known liver toxin, at or above the advisory level for recreation.

A post on the Hill County Health Department Facebook page states that research done by MSU-Northern found levels to be toxic high enough to pose health risks at Beaver Creek Reservoir. Bailey Reservoir as well as Kremlin Reservoir are considered to have the blue/green algae as well. No reports as of yet have been reported but visitors to any reservoir in the area should be aware and on the lookout for these blooms.

The Montana Department of Environmental Quality, the Department of Public Health & Human Services and the Blaine County Health Department strongly recommend that people stay out of any water where algal blooms are seen. Children and animals are most at risk because they can accidentally ingest the water as they spend time wading in shallow water where the algae tends to accumulate. Pets and livestock should also be kept away from water that has an algal bloom.

Typically, these types of algal blooms are found in freshwater lakes and reservoirs throughout Montana and tend to grow in warmer water where there’s an increase in nitrogen and phosphorus runoff from a variety of human activities. With summer temps at their highest in July and August it is common this time of year. Algae blooms float on the surface of the water and can look like pea soup, cut grass, or green latex paint.

If you see what you think might be a harmful algae bloom, you can report it using the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services website at: http://www.hab.mt.gov The site also has a map of reported HABs and information on how to identify them.

If you suspect a toxic algae-related illness in a person or animal, including livestock, call Poison Control immediately at 1-800-222-1222 and/or contact Blaine County Sanitarian Ron Andersen at: 406-868-4957.


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