Pyramid Lake Algal Bloom Now at ‘Warning’ Level
From the Department of Water Resources:
The Department of Water Resources (DWR) is urging boaters and recreational users to avoid direct contact with or use of waters containing blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) in Pyramid Lake in Los Angeles County.
Water from the swim beach at Pyramid Lake’s Vaquero Day Use Area was tested using a field test kit on July 6 and showed a reading of 10 micrograms of microcystins per liter, a level that prompts the issuance of a “Warning” health advisory and the closure of the swim area. The Vaquero Day Use Area remains open for picnicking and other shoreline activities, but the swim beach is closed. A “Caution” advisory issued last week remains in place for the remainder of the lake, including Emigrant Landing Swim Beach. The Emigrant Landing Swim Beach is open for swimming.
Field test strips provide faster results than laboratory testing but do not yield definitive results. Samples have been sent to a laboratory for additional analysis.
Bloom conditions can change rapidly, and wind and waves may move or concentrate the bloom into different regions of the lake. “Warning” signs have been posted at Vaquero Swim Beach, and “Caution” signs remain posted at other locations around 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.
Blue-green algae can pose health risks, particularly to children and pets. Visitors to Pyramid Lake are urged to choose safe water activities while recreating there. They should avoid swimming and ingesting the water in the Vaquero Beach bloom area and avoid ingesting the water elsewhere in the lake. Pets should be kept away from the water in all areas under advisory.
Coastkeeper Takes Legal Action to Protect San Juan Creek and Doheny Beach from Illegal Pollution
From the Orange County Coastkeeper:
Today, Orange County Coastkeeper is taking legal action to protect the public and aquatic life from harmful pollution flowing from Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park, a 60-acre equestrian riding park in San Juan Capistrano, into local waters. With an amendment to its existing lawsuit alleging stormwater violations and illegal fill activities at the Riding Park, Coastkeeper aims to hold the City of San Juan Capistrano and Blenheim Facility Management accountable for un-permitted animal operations that release manure and other harmful pollutants into San Juan Creek.
Coastkeeper specializes in water quality enforcement and, for 18 years, has made a tremendous difference in ensuring improved water quality and healthy waters for all of Orange County. Through legal enforcement similar to today’s action, Coastkeeper has drastically decreased the number of posted and closed beaches due to contamination, proactively developed stronger permits that regulate stormwater and urban pollution, and successfully worked with more than 60 local facilities to prevent industrial runoff and help them come into compliance with the clean water laws.
Coastkeeper filed its original complaint on June 2, after investigating numerous public complaints of poor water quality in the area and submitting a 60-day notice letter informing the defendants of the allegations. The federal lawsuit cites multiple Clean Water Act violations at the Riding Park, Reata Park and Arizona Crossing – a manmade road through San Juan Creek connecting the two parks. Now, Coastkeeper adds additional claims that the Riding Park has also been operating without Clean Water Act permits necessary for an animal facility of its size.
Facilities that confine 500 or more horses for 45 days or more in a twelve-month period generate massive amounts of manure and wastewater, and improper maintenance can cause runoff from manure areas to spill into nearby waterways. During storms, these facilities can discharge contaminated runoff to nearby waterways where they can cause illness. Due to the potential harm to water quality facilities of this size can cause, federal law classifies them as Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations or “CAFOs,” and regulates them similar to an industrial facility instead of a farm or agricultural site.
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