By Douglas W. Motley
The Lake Gregory Recreation Company last Saturday was advised by the Lahontan Water Quality Control Board that it could now lift its algae caution warning which had been in effect ever since the discovery of trace amounts of blue-green algae on July 13.
At that time, and in an abundance of caution, Lake Gregory Recreation Company had issued a “Caution Recommended” warning, urging those using the lake not to drink the lake water or touch any possible algae seen flowing in from creeks toward the lake. The same warning had also applied to pets.
According to lake management, last week’s testing by the Lahontan Water Board revealed no trace of blue-green algae, enabling workers to remove all cautionary warning signs around the lake.
“So, come on out and enjoy the beautiful weather and take a dip here with us,” Lake Gregory Recreation Company posted on Facebook on Saturday, Aug. 17.
When asked how the cautionary warning of blue-green algae affected the numbers of visitors, Lake Gregory Recreation Company General Manager Arlene Arenas told The Alpine Mountaineer on Monday that the number of visitors seemed normal at first. Noting that she prefers to be cautionary and upfront, Arenas said, “As long as we informed them and let them know that caution was recommended, there was not much effect.”
However, she said, there was more of a local effect when an article in the Aug. 15 edition of The Alpine Mountaineer stated that the results of Lahontan’s July 17 sampling of the water in Lake Gregory continued to show moderate amounts of Dolichospermum but, unlike the earlier samples, cyanotoxins were now measured at detectable levels.
A photograph that appeared in the Aug. 15 edition of The Alpine Mountaineer apparently led readers to believe there was a serious health threat, when, in fact, there was none.
Asked whether there had been previous algae warnings at Lake Gregory, Arenas said the recent episode was the first time since Lake Gregory Recreation Company has been operating the lake’s facilities. However, she added, there had been a previous incident about seven or eight years ago when the San Bernardino County Regional Parks Department had been running the lake.
When asked if proactive measures could prevent algae blooms, Arenas said such blooms are natural and vary with the amount of water flowing into the lake and rising temperatures.
“We don’t put chemicals into the lake,” Arenas said.