The blue-green algae bloom at Beaver Lake that stirred up a water advisory is showing signs of breaking down.
Glenn Harris, senior manager of environmental management for the Capital Regional District, said although it looks like the bloom is breaking down, the CRD advisory recommending people and pets stay out of the water will continue for at least two more weeks.
On average, the CRD generally monitors lakes for a couple of weeks after there are indications blooms are breaking down as a precaution before lifting a water advisory, Harris said.
This algae bloom may have been caused by a combination of wind and temperature, he said.
“There’s nothing to indicate it’s caused by Canada geese at this time,” he said, adding that most of the nutrients that caused the algae bloom are tied up in the lake sediment.
No algae issues have surfaced at Elk Lake, and the CRD will continue to monitor both lakes closely.
Saanich Coun. Colin Plant, said, as a councillor and CRD director, he is concerned that the abundance of Canada geese is contributing to the frequency of blue-green algae.
“I will be discussing with staff if there is anything we can do to prevent this from happening in the future,” he said.
According to information on the HealthLinkBC website, blue-green algae are bacteria that grow in shallow, slow-moving water such as freshwater lakes, ponds or wetlands. Some blue-green algae blooms can produce chemicals that are poisonous if swallowed by people, pets or livestock. Recreational activities such as swimming, boating or water-skiing in water can also cause exposure. Symptoms from drinking water that contains blue-green algae include nausea, sore throat, fever, dizziness, stomach cramps, diarrhea, abdominal pain, vomiting, muscle aches, mouth ulcers and blistering of the lips.
Symptoms from swimming and exposure through other recreational activities include skin rashes and irritated ears and eyes. If you have any of theses symptoms, you should rinse off and see your health care provider right away.