Rock Springs — The Wyoming Department of Health (WDH) and the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) have issued an advisory for the Flaming Gorge Fire Hole Canyon Swim Beach due to higher than normal levels of cyanobacteria — harmful algae blooms.

According to Dr. Stachon, Sweetwater County Health Officer, highly visible algae blooms are

not unusual occurrences in still waters this time of year, especially when water temperatures have been high. The dense accumulations of blue-green algae can produce harmful toxins that may cause rashes or illnesses in humans and pets.

 

The following is recommended:

  • Avoid contact with water in the vicinity of the algae bloom, especially in areas where

blue-green algae are dense and form scums.

  • Do not drink or consume the water. Boiling, filtration and/or chlorination will not remove toxins and will not make the water safe for drinking.
  • Caution should be taken when eating fish as health effects remain unknown. Rinse fish with clean water and eat only the fillet portion.
  • Do not breathe water spray in areas of the bloom.
  • Keep pets and livestock away from the water. Do not allow animals to drink the water, eat dried algae, or groom themselves after contact with the water.
  • If people, pets, and livestock come into contact with a bloom, rinse off with clean water as soon as possible.

Seek medical attention or a veterinarian if a person or animal is experiencing adverse

health effects after exposure to an algal bloom. Young children, pregnant women, people

with weak immune systems and animals are especially at risk.

 

Questions regarding symptoms related to an algal bloom can also be referred to

https://www.cdc.gov/habs/.

For more information, visit the DEQ’s HABs webpage at WyoHABs.org.

If you or your pets get sick after using the water, call your doctor, veterinarian or the

Wyoming Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222.

 

Waterbodies under an ADVISORY are not closed. For more information, call the

Wyoming Department of Health at 307-777-7656.

Starvation Reservoir: As of Sept. 13, 2019, Harmful Algal Blooms have dissipated out of Starvation Reservoir and the water is safe for swimming.
Matt Warner: The Danger Advisory is still in effect. The lake is closed to swimming, boating, and fishing.
Calder: The Warning Advisory is still in effect. No swimming. Exercise caution when boating or fishing.
Big Sandwash Reservoir: Last week we received a report of a possible bloom on Big Sandwash. We have investigated and did not find any signs of a bloom. We will continue to monitor.
Other bodies of water that are being monitored that have not shown any signs of blooms: Flaming Gorge, Red Fleet, Steinaker, Montes Creek, Cottonwood.

A warning sign you may see. Please use caution when boating, please do not swim. You are OK to fish.

If the signs are red, avoid all contact with specified bodies of water

If the signs are red, avoid all contact with specified bodies of water

VERNAL — On Aug. 12, 2019, TriCounty Health Department (TCHD) posted danger signs at Matt Warner Reservoir, warning the public not to fish, swim or recreate in the water due to the harmful algal blooms (HABs). 

 

Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) Director Mike Fowlks issued an emergency amendment to the 2019 Utah Fishing Guidebook due to Matt Warner Reservoir being temporarily closed to fishing, as a result of the HAB. After consulting with officials from the TCHD, DWR made the decision to close the waterbody to fishing from Aug. 13 to Sept. 30. That means that it will be illegal for anyone to fish at the reservoir during that time and anyone found fishing there could be cited.

 

The Utah Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) took water samples at Matt Warner. A recent sample showed 109 million cells per milliliter of cyanobacteria — over 11 times higher than the Environmental Protection Agency’s threshold for closure. 

 

“Harmful algal blooms happen frequently at Matt Warner Reservoir. Throughout the season, the bacteria grow,  bloom and die. As the cells die, toxins are released that are harmful to human and animal health,” Eric Larsen, Environmental Health Scientist said. “There is nothing we can do to mitigate or prevent the toxins. The best thing we can do is stay out of the water until the bacteria and toxins dissipate on their own.”

 

“The risk to humans and animals is too great. All contact with the water and any fish in the water should be avoided until the algal bloom subsides and toxicity levels decrease,” Fowlks said. “Typically, it is still safe to fish during algal blooms, but these levels caused safety concerns for any kind of contact with the water.” 

 

Hunting and camping in the Diamond Mountain Wildlife Management Area will still be allowed. However, campers and hunters with dogs should avoid the area unless they can ensure that their pets will not get in the water. 

 

While the fishing is closed at Matt Warner Reservoir, there are some other great options in the area for fishing and other recreation. Anglers can experience great fishing at nearby Red Fleet State Park, Steinaker State Park, East Park Reservoir, Old Fort Ponds or Flaming Gorge Reservoir. 

 

For more information, visit the Utah Department of Environmental Quality website. 

TriCounty Health Department and Ashley Regional Medical Center are teaming together to bring the community its first Baby Fair, Thursday, November 15, 6-8 p.m. at the new Ashley Regional Women’s Center. Chat with medical professionals, WIC providers and learn about local resources.

The event will be an opportunity to learn about breastfeeding options and learn about what Ashley Regional Medical Center and TriCounty Health Department have to offer the Uintah Basin.