More algae advisories issued for area lakes

By on September 7, 2017
Tunkwa Lake (left) is about 17 km north of Logan Lake and Chapperon Lake (right) is about 60 km form Merritt. (Photo courtesy of Google Maps)

More warnings have been issued for lakes in the Merritt area due to toxic algae blooms.

The Upper Nicola Band (UNB) is including Chapperon Lake in its current algae advisory, and visitors to Tunkwa Lake Provincial Park are being asked to stay out of the water as BC Parks tests for a possible outbreak of blue-green algae.

According to the band, an algae bloom was found in Chapperon Lake on Sept. 4.

Back in August, the band discovered a blue-green algae bloom at the mouth of Douglas Lake where it enters the Nicola River, and a number of fish carcusses were found nearby.

That bloom was indicated as what killed the fish and it has since cleared up due to wind and rain, but the algae advisory remains in place for band members living on the Douglas Lake reserve at the southern end of the lake.

The band has been working with the First Nations Health Authority and a fishery biologist from Nicola Tribal Association regarding the two blooms, while people and their pets are asked to avoid swimming in Douglas or Chapperon Lake for the time being.

At Tunkwa Lake, BC Parks is testing for the presence of toxic blue-green algae near the day use site. Officials from the department are warning people not to swim in the lake and keep their pets from drinking the water.

“While this has not yet been confirmed, such bacterial growth is toxic to humans, domestic animals, pets and wildlife if ingested,” stated an advisory posted to the BC Parks website yesterday (Sept. 6). “The possible outbreak is located at the lagoon site near the fish spawning channel, to the west of the boat launch. The public is asked to please avoid using the site or swimming in the vicinity, and to take all precautions to prevent pets swimming or drinking near this location, until otherwise notified.”

BC Cattlemen’s Association general manager Kevin Boon confirmed three cows died recently after drinking from Tunkwa Lake.

He said tests of the water supply where the cows drank from indicated the presence of blue-green algae.

“This is not necessarily an uncommon occurrence,” said Boon, adding that algae blooms can become an issue each year at this time in standing water bodies.

“A lot of it is brought on by heat and where the temperature of the water is,” said Boon.

Ranchers in the area have blocked off access to the lake for their cattle, he said.

Veterinarian Anne Flemming from the Merritt Veterinarian Hospital said one dog was brought in to the clinic from Tunkwa Lake earlier this week with a suspected algae poisoning.

“We have no way of confirming that’s what this dog was sick with, but it was showing neurological signs and tremors, and was in a bad way,” said Flemming.

The dog was treated and is doing well, but Flemming said people need to be aware of lakes with possible algae blooms and keep their pets out of them.

Tunkwa Lake Provincial Park is located about 17 kilometres north of Logan Lake.

Blue-green algae are bacteria that grow in shallow, slow moving or still water, and can occur naturally. However, water bodies enriched with nutrients from human activities such as municipal, industrial or agricultural sources are much more likely to have blooms, according to Healthlink BC.

Some blue-green algae blooms can produce chemicals that are poisonous if swallowed by people, pets or livestock while other blooms can have no noticeable effect.

2 Comments

  1. Anita

    September 8, 2017 at 11:15 am

    THANK YOU for posting this. My dog almost died on route to the Central Animal Hospital in Kamloops on Saturday after what we now know must have been a blue algae consumption at Tunkwa. With no signage around it could have been a lot worse.

    http://cfjctoday.com/article/586149/toxic-algae-bloom-threatens-tunkwa-lake-users

  2. pennyecclestone

    September 15, 2017 at 11:13 am

    I have read this article and ..was not surprised to see this as my dog Elly May was very affected on the Tuesday after the long weekend..and she almost died as well..with toxic alge poising from the same tunkwa lake area..the day area..and saw the dead cows as well..and it took 20 minutes to affect her..seizures ..foaming at the mouth..loss of .controle of her limbs ..it was a very scary ride to my vets in Merritt…my vet was wonderful..dr. Anne flemming ..preformed a miracle and Elly May lived..but I am very angry as there was no signs or warnings…if Anita is reading this..please contact me..

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *