People and their pets are cautioned to avoid contact with water at Crawford Reservoir at Crawford State Park because of a blue-green algae bloom that could be harmful if touched or ingested.
Samples of blooms were taken Sept. 21 and will be tested for the presence of increased levels of toxicity. Those samples led Crawford State Park Manager Ed Keleher to post caution signs around the shores and close the peninsula.
“We have a suspected toxic algal bloom, and we want people to take caution around the reservoir,” Keleher said. “We have posted caution signs for now and urge people to avoid contact with the water and to keep dogs away.”
Keleher advised people to follow the instructions on all CPW cautionary signs posted at the lake about blue-green algae. Keleher said the park will closely monitor testing results to determine if any other action is required as well as to decide when it is safe to remove the caution signs.
Contact medical care (doctor or veterinarian) if, after exposure to the water, individuals or pets exhibit nausea, vomiting, digestive distress, breathing problems, seizure or unexplained illness.
Fishing is still allowed, but be careful to avoid the water. Toxins accumulate in the liver and guts of fish, so it’s important that any fish taken from the water is properly cleaned and thoroughly cooked before eating. Crawford State Park is known as a quality perch and crappie fishery and also holds rainbow trout, channel catfish, largemouth bass and northern pike.
Algae blooms are common when temperatures rise and usually occur later in the summer. The algae conditions will continue to change, and there may be more or less toxins in the next few days. CPW will continually monitor the lake to see if the toxic levels increase or decrease and will adjust the status from caution, danger or closed, accordingly.
Crawford State Park is a 760-acre property in Delta County with good fishing. Other forms of recreation still allowed at the SWA include: biking, camping, hiking, picnicking and wildlife viewing.
Algae are an important part of aquatic food webs, but some types of blue-green algae are capable of producing toxins that may cause negative health impacts for humans and pets at elevated concentrations. Currently there is no method to remove toxins from lakes.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) recommends the following: keep kids out, no pets in water, do not drink water, avoid contact with algae and if exposed, shower immediately.
More information on blue-green algae is available on CDPHE’s website.