PORT TOWNSEND — Blue-green algae blooms have been found on Jefferson County lakes in January but toxins in the waters have declined, according to Jefferson County Public Health.
At Anderson Lake, no visual traces were left of a previous severe bloom which kept the lake closed for much of 2017, said Michael Dawson, lead environmental health specialist with the environmental health division, on Friday.
Laboratory testing showed low levels of the potent neurotoxin anatoxin-a.
Since the toxin level of 0.2 micrograms per liter is below the state recreational guideline of 1 microgram per liter, Jefferson County Public Health recommended that Anderson Lake State Park post the lake with warning signs.
A warning sign says that, while the lake is open, it is recommended that people avoid areas of scum, keep children and pets out of the water and clean fish well and discard the skin and guts.
Washington State Parks has informed the county that the gate at Anderson Lake State Park, which is between Port Townsend and Chimacum, will be open Fridays through Sundays in winter.
A bloom of blue-green algae was found by Jefferson County Public Health at Lake Leland near Quilcene in January, but test results did not show detectable levels of toxins, Dawson said.
Warning signs have been posted at the boat ramp and fishing pier.
A bloom appeared on Gibbs Lake near Chimacum on Friday. The county will test it for toxins and for now the lake is posted with caution signs.
Blue-green algae is usually benign; some species can begin to produce toxins. Researchers do not know what triggers the toxin release.
The county has monitored local lakes for blue-green algae seasonally since 2007. The 2018 monitoring season has begun and testing results will be posted at www.jeffersoncountypublichealth.org.
Lake users are encouraged to call Jefferson County Public Health at 360-385-9444 if algae blooms are noted or are seen to be grower thicker.
Toxin-producing blue-green algae has not been spotted in Clallam County.
Report algae blooms in Clallam County by phoning 360-417-2258.
For fishing seasons and regulations see the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife website www.wdfw.wa.gov/fishing.
Information on visiting Gibbs Lake County Park and the Lake Leland Campground is available at www.countyrec.com.