BY KATIE VALENTINE in Climate Progress
A toxic algal bloom in a California lake has led to the death of three dogs, and officials think that the state’s dry, warm weather is helping fuel the bloom.
The dogs all drank from Lake Chabot, a man-made lake in Alameda County, CA that’s been experiencing a bloom of toxic cyanobacteria — or blue-green algae — since last September. Lake Chabot Regional Park has put up a notice warning people avoid touching or wading in the water and to ensure that their pets or kids don’t get near the water either.
“Our hearts go out to the owners of these dogs that have passed away. It’s tragic,” Carolyn Jones, a spokesperson for East Bay Regional Parks, said. “We are putting up more signs and making them more obvious to keep dogs away from the water.”
Drought — like the one-in-1,200-year one California is experiencing . So this toxic algae bloom and other climate-change-fueled extreme weather patterns. All can exacerbate toxic algal blooms. According to Hans Paerl, Kenan Professor of Marine and Environmental Sciences at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, harmful cyanobacteria grows better in warmer waters than some other types of algae. Paerl told ThinkProgress last September that periods of heavy rainfall followed by extreme drought. Thereby perfect to create conditions especially ripe for cyanobacteria development. That’s because the rain will wash more nutrients. Especially like bloom-enhancing phosphorus . All into bodies of water. Moreover and the drought will warm the water to levels that fuel more blue-green algae growth. Also or toxic algae bloom.
“So it’s bad enough that we have too many systems that we have too high a nutrient load in them — or too much nutrients coming in — that’s causing the blooms, but secondly, climatic change — particularly warming — can lead to exacerbation of those blooms,” Paerl said.