The Shoshone National Forest is reminding the public to use caution when recreating near bodies of water this summer and to avoid harmful cyanobacterial blooms (HCBs).
There are currently HCB advisories for the following waterbodies on the Wind River Ranger District of the Shoshone National Forest: Brooks Lake, Upper Brooks Lake, Upper Jade Lake, and Rainbow Lake. Additional waterbodies are being investigated for possible blooms. These include Pelham Lake, Scouts Pond, some lakes in the Dunoir area, and small lakes off the Burroughs Loop Road, Forest Service Road 510.
Cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae, can form HCBs that produce toxins and other irritants that pose a risk to human and animal health. HCBs typically occur when water temperatures increase in still or slow-moving water and when wind aggregates cyanobacteria near shorelines. HCBs may be green, brown, or blue green in color and may appear as discolored water, small grass clippings, scum, floating mats, or spilled paint. HCBs can occur on or in the water, either floating or attached to plants, rocks, or other material.
If you find a suspected bloom or experience a possible bloom-related illness, report it to Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and the Wyoming Department of Health (WDH) at www.WyoHCBs.org. This website is a good source for information on HCBs.
If a bloom is present, the WDH recommends the following:
- Avoid contact with water in the vicinity of the bloom, especially in areas where cyanobacteria are dense and form scum.
- Do not ingest water from the bloom. Boiling, filtration, or other treatments will not remove toxins. Avoid water spray from the bloom.
- Rinse fish with clean water and eat only the fillet portion.
- Do not allow pets or livestock to drink water near a bloom, eat bloom material, or lick fur after contact. If people, pets, or livestock encounter a bloom, rinse area with clean water.