Local News

Toxic Algae Found in the Blue Mesa Reservoir

GUNNISON, Colo. - Those with the National Park Service are warning people of toxic algae found in the Blue Mesa Reservoir. 

While the reservoir remains open, there are a few things to consider before heading out there.

During a typical year, you can expect to see the same people visiting the Blue Mesa Reservoir several times a month.

"This year, not quite so often," said Gus Tranello, Boater at the Blue Mesa Reservoir.

With water levels at their lowest since 1977, it's impacted the way many are normally able to recreate.

"This year I'm sure its affected the fishing a lot more than normal years," said Tranello.

However, it's now creating a much bigger problem. 

"We've had documented cases of blue green algae since 1975. Under certain conditions it can produce cyanotoxins," said Nicki Gibney, Aquatic Biologist with the National Park Service.

Those with the National Park Service say they've found a dangerous amount of toxic algae in the Iola Basin.

"Certain environmental conditions such as nutrient input, sunlight, and water temperatures can have an effect on when the blue green algae produces cyanotoxins," said Gibney.

"We're asking people to not swim in certain areas of the reservoir and to be aware that pets should not be drinking or swimming in the water," said Sandra Snell-Dobert, Public Information Officer with the National Park Service.

If you do decide to take the risk, there are some symptoms you should watch out for.

"Nausea, vomiting, digestive issues, and other people may be affected by a rash," said Snell-Dobert.

The same warning goes for our four legged friends.

"If a dog becomes sick after swimming in the Blue Mesa reservoir, we recommend they see a veterinarian," said Snell-Dobert.

For now, all that's left to do is wait.

"Hopefully the weather will cool down and winds will pick up here at Blue Mesa," said Gibney.

"The ideal situation is we get so much snow you can't walk up in the mountains," said Tranello.

They're hoping that as the seasons change, the Blue Mesa will return back to its normal state.

Each of the algae samples tested take about five days for them to get the results back. Until then the advisory will remain in full effect. 


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