Blue-green algae warning lifted at Elk/Beaver Lake, remains in place for Thetis

Toxins from the algae can cause fatal liver damage to dogs

The Capital Regional District has lifted its blue-green algae warning for Elk and Beaver lakes, but said the blooms are still present at Thetis and Prior lakes.

The CRD said it ended a beach advisory for Beaver Lake in Elk/Beaver Lake Regional Park in consultation with Island Health. Water samples collected indicated a “below detection limit” result for cyanotoxins.

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“The extended absence of blue-green scum combined with test results are good indicators that the bloom is over,” the CRD said.

The CRD said park users are reminded to watch for the distinctive blue-green sheen, which can appear on the lake surface. Blue-green algae blooms are unpredictable and may occur at any time, it said.

CRD spokesman Andy Orr said parks department staff monitors lakes for signs of the algae.

“When they notice the sheen and when the sheen looks big enough that’s when we, in conjunction with our scientists, put up the signs and put out the alert,” he said.

Testing is done after the sheen breaks up, Orr said.

The algae is seen most in water that is shallow, slow-moving or still, so it can be found in ponds and the shore areas of lakes and streams.

People exposed to the algae by getting it on their skin during recreational activity can experience symptoms that include skin rash and irritation of the ears and eyes.

Ingesting water containing the cyanotoxins in the algae can cause such symptoms as headaches and abdominal pain in humans, and can lead to lethal liver damage in dogs. Animals exposed to the algae can also experience jaundice and sensitivity to sunlight.

Dr. Rick Cohen of the Admirals Walk Pet Clinic said this is “blue-green algae season” and people should be cautious with their pets.

“The nice thing here is the CRD is always checking the lakes.”

The View Royal Fire Department said there were hundreds of people in the water at Thetis Lake on Sunday, despite the CRD’s advisory that people and animals shouldn’t swim because of the algae bloom. ­

Meanwhile, some trails at Mount Work Regional Park will be temporarily closed Thursday and Friday between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. due to blasting work at Hartland Landfill.

Closures of the trails will be ongoing for the next year as the Hartland Landfill expands its boundaries. Weekly schedules with dates of upcoming closures will be updated on the CRD’s website,

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