Toxic algae found in Blue Mesa Reservoir

Blue Mesa Reservoir captured in the winter of 2019.
Blue Mesa Reservoir captured in the winter of 2019.(Jeanie Garvin)
Published: Sep. 19, 2022 at 11:25 AM MDT
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - The National Park Service (NPS) has sampled and analyzed water in the Iola Basin of the Blue Mesa Reservoir, and has determined the presence of cyanotoxins that exceed safe exposure levels.

Certain types of algae blooms can produce cyanotoxins, which can become harmful to humans and animals.

The NPS has closed areas in the Iona Basin to full-body contact recreation including swimming, skiing, paddle-boarding, wading, and similar sports. NPS requests the public use caution to avoid unnecessary exposure to reservoir water when fishing, boating, or recreating.

Other areas of Blue Mesa Reservoir may also contain these toxins, so the public is urged to use caution and to avoid areas with algal mats.

While boating and fishing remain open throughout Blue Mesa Reservoir, recreators are asked to be sure to clean fish thoroughly in treated water and to remember to clean, drain, and dry all boats and fishing gear.

Dogs and other animals should not drink water from any portion of the Iola Basin, and the park recommends not allowing your animals to swim or drink from any reservoir waters.

If individuals or pets experience nausea, vomiting, digestive distress, breathing problems, seizures, or unexplained illness after coming in contact with the water, contact medical care (doctor or veterinarian) immediately.

Harmful algae, better known as blue-green algae, is common and natural to waters across Colorado. The algae can multiply rapidly forming blooms and scums, particularly in areas of shallow and warm water.

The National Park Service will continue to monitor waters across Colorado.