Echo Lake reopens as toxin levels drop

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Toxic algae bloom in Echo Lake
The lake is now clear of toxins 
Photo by Ann Michel
Echo Lake and its beach were closed for an entire month, from April 18 - May 19, 2021, due to a toxic algae bloom. 

This recent bloom of algal species produced anatoxin a, a nerve toxin that has been known to kill dogs and is harmful to humans. These HABs, or Hazardous Algae Blooms, are more frequent in lakes like Echo Lake, which has an excess of phosphorus and other nutrients.

Periodically lakes experience water exchanges, where the water from the lake bottom wells to the surface. The bottom water is full of nutrients, which create a rich environment for algae to grow. Warm weather makes it worse.

The lake was closed for a month.
Photo by Diane Lindberg
Humans contribute to the environment for algae blooms by using products containing phosphorus, such as Round-Up (glyphosate). 

Washing cars, treating lawns with synthetic fertilizers, weed and bug killers all allow phosphorus to enter the lake through runoff and contribute to the potential for toxic algae blooms.  

Brown Bear car wash recycles and filters the water it uses, and is an environmentally friendly alternative to washing your vehicle on a street or driveway. 

Geese take over Echo Lake Park
Photo by Patrick Deagen

Another way to help keep the beach open and safe is to follow the new City of Shoreline guideline about not feeding the ducks or geese at Echo Lake. 

When humans feed waterfowl their population grows beyond sustainable levels. Their feces can contaminate the water and lead to more beach closures.

--Diane Hettrick


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