Blue-green algae has bloomed at Battle Ground Lake in Clark County, months before the arrival of warm weather that typically fuels them.
It’s unclear how quickly the bloom took shape or what conditions allowed it to grow, Clark County Public Health officials said Monday. The greenish bacteria, which can be toxic, often thrive in the warmer waters of late spring and summer.
The bloom is the second so far in 2020, according to Brian Schlottmann, program manager with the department. Before this year, he said, a bloom hadn’t been recorded in Clark County before May.
“Even last year, we didn’t have an algae bloom until May. So this is earlier,” he said. He noted algae has been blooming lately without warm weather. There were blooms last October and December.
“What we experienced last year, and now this year, is extended seasons,” he said.
It’s not yet clear if the bloom at Battle Ground Lake is toxic. Test results are expected at the end of the week.
Public health officials still warned against swimming near the algae, drinking the lake water or eating any fish caught there without cleaning them and discarding the organs.
The first algae bloom in Southwest Washington this year occurred in February at Fallen Leaf Lake in Camas, Washington. Schlottmann said the county didn’t issue any safety warnings because that lake isn’t used by people as often.