Swimming returns to Pyramid Lake as algae levels drop and temps climb

Pyramid Lake in Los Angeles County, California (Credit: Roman Fuchs/Wikimedia Commons)
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With triple digit temperatures in store for the Santa Clarita Valley early next week, news that the “No Swimming” signs have been removed at Pyramid Lake could not have come at a better time.

On Wednesday, officials with the Department of Water Resources lifted their algal bloom caution advisory at Pyramid Lake in Los Angeles County.

“Caution signs have been removed from the lake’s shoreline, and all areas of the lake are open to boating and swimming, including Emigrant Landing and Vaquero swim beaches,” Doug Carlson, spokesman for the Department of Water Resources said in a news release issued Wednesday.

A caution advisory had been in effect since Sept. 29.

Recent water tests, however, found no microcystins – toxins produced by bacteria – for three consecutive weeks, he said.  Microcystins are produced by certain bacteria found in bodies of freshwater.

When toxic blue-green algae are present, exposure can cause eye irritation, allergic skin rash, mouth ulcers, vomiting, diarrhea, and cold- and flu-like symptoms. Pets can be especially susceptible because they tend to drink while in the water and lick their fur afterwards.

And the lake is opening just in time. Unusually hot weather is predicted by meteorologists with the National Weather Service.

Daytime temperatures Monday are expected to be in the high 90s, with a high Monday of 96F.  On Tuesday, the temperature could climb to 101.

In late September, state water officials upgraded their algal bloom advisory from “Caution” to “Warning” based on tests of lake water, Carlson said at the time.

Warning signs were posted around the lake.  And, the areas near Emigrant Landing and Vaquero swim beaches were closed swimming. A “Caution” advisory had been in effect for the lake since late August.

“In August we issued a caution but on Thursday we upgraded it to a warning,” Carlson said last month.

Boating, however, is allowed throughout Pyramid Lake.

Bloom conditions can change rapidly, and wind and waves may move or concentrate the bloom into different regions of the lake.

The algal bloom can appear as blue-green, white or brown foam, scum or mats that can float on the water’s surface and accumulate along the shoreline and boat ramp area.


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