LINCOLN, GOODING, AND CAMAS COUNTIES - The South Central Public Health District (SCPHD) and the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) are issuing a public health advisory today for Thorn Creek Reservoir. Results from recent DEQ water testing show the concentration of cyano bacteria (sometimes called blue-green algae) in the reservoir are now at unhealthy levels and have formed a harmful algal bloom (HAB). This is the fourth health advisory issued for a reservoir in south-central Idaho. The first was issued on July 8th for Salmon Falls Creek Reservoir, the second was issued July 25th for Mormon Reservoir, the third advisory was issued August 9th for Magic Reservoir. All three previous advisories are ongoing.
The public is advised to take the following steps to protect their health in all four reservoirs:
Avoid exposure to water in reservoirs under a HAB health advisory. Make sure children, pets, and livestock are not exposed to the water.
Do not drink water with a HAB advisory. Boiling and disinfecting DO NOT remove toxins from water.
Do not allow pets to eat dried algae
If fishing in HAB water, remove all fat, skin, and organs before cooking. Toxins are more likely to collect in those tissues. Wash hands after handling.
“This is the fourth advisory in our region, but there are several more around the state. These toxins can be damaging so we urge you to check any reservoir you want to recreate in before you, or your pets, enter the water,” said Josh Jensen, SCPHD Public Health Program Manager.
HABs are not unusual in warm summer months and typically shrink quickly as the water temperature drops in mid to late fall. SCPHD will issue another press release when DEQ tests show Thorn Creek, Magic, Mormon, and Salmon Falls Creek Reservoirs are at safe cyano toxin levels again.
You can help by reporting suspicious looking water to DEQ by phone, email, or with the bloom Watch app.
More information is available at https://www.deq.idaho.gov/water-quality/surface-water/recreation-health-advisories/cyanobacteria-harmful-algal-blooms/