Planning on take a dip in Lake Temescal this weekend? Unless you want to get smothered in toxic algae, falling sick, that would not be advisable. The algae has bloomed far too wide forcing officials to close off the lake for swimming, an East Bay Regional Park District spokeswoman said
Vacationers and tourists are still permitted to hike around the lake or hold picnics there, but the water is off limits to anyone who does not want to get ill spokeswoman Carolyn Jones said. “We’re very sorry to have to close this popular lake during the holiday weekend,” Jones said. “We know it’s a big inconvenience because people love to swim there.”
The algae can even be fatal for animals. Three dogs died in December and January after drinking up algae-infested water at Lake Chabot Regional Park in Castro Valley. The algae produces toxins that can attack a dog’s nervous system and liver.
The lack of rainfall in the region has allowed water to stagnate leading to explosion in algae growth. “The warmer temperatures and more stagnant water create perfect conditions for algae to thrive,” Jones said.
The 13-acre lake, part of the Temescal Regional Recreation Area, is in the Oakland hills near highways 24 and 13.
The park district hopes to reopen the lake for swimming next week, when crews will treat the water to reduce the algae levels, she said.
This is not the first time the lake has been shut down. Lake Temescal was closed to swimmers for 46 days last year before it was treated with chemicals and reopened during Labor Day weekend.Quarry Lakes in Fremont also closed for swimmers last month because of toxic algae.
Algae blooms also have begun affecting marine life along the West Coast, according to a Los Angeles Times story last month. Algae spotted in ocean water from Monterey to Vancouver have threatened the health of sea lions, fish and birds, and shut down commercial fishing in some areas, according to the article.
In the East Bay Regional Park District’s 80-year history, there were few algae-related lake closures until the past year or two, Jones said.
“But there have been a lot since then,” she said. “Let’s all pray for a nice, wet winter and then we won’t have algae problems.”