Swimmers, boaters beware: Blue-green algae reported in Bowman-Haley

BOWMAN COUNTY — The North Dakota Department of Health and Agriculture, Animal Health Division, have issued a blue-green algae warning for Bowman-Haley Reservoir due to high levels of microcystin in the water.

Microcystin, reported this week at Bowman-Haley Dam, is a cyanotoxin caused by blue-green algae. When present in water, cyanotoxins are dangerous for both people and animals. Swimming or consuming water from the dam should be curtailed until further notice. Boating should be done with caution so water is not accidentally ingested. (Photo courtesy NDDoH)
Microcystin, reported this week at Bowman-Haley Dam, is a cyanotoxin caused by blue-green algae. When present in water, cyanotoxins are dangerous for both people and animals. Swimming or consuming water from the dam should be curtailed until further notice. Boating should be done with caution so water is not accidentally ingested. (Photo courtesy NDDoH)

The North Dakota Department of Health and Agriculture, Animal Health Division, have issued a blue-green algae warning for Bowman-Haley Reservoir due to high levels of microcystin in the water.

Microcystin is a cyanotoxin caused by blue-green algae. When present in water, cyanotoxins are dangerous for both people and animals. Swimming or consuming water from the dam should be curtailed until further notice. Boating should be done with caution so water is not accidentally ingested.

The NDDoH was notified of the algae bloom earlier this week and confirmed the presence of the bloom and collected water samples on Wednesday, July 20.

Water tests by the NDDoH revealed microcystin levels 15 times recommended safe levels. The production of blue-green algae, also known as cyanobacteria, often happens in hot weather in bodies of water that are used by people, pets, and livestock.

Exposure from ingesting affected water can cause illness in people and animals, and can result in death. There are no known antidotes for the toxins. Blue-green algae discolor the water they live in, and can cause foam, scum, or mats to appear on the surface. People and animals that swallow water containing cyanotoxins can become sick with severe diarrhea and vomiting; numb lips, tingling fingers and toes; dizziness; or rashes, hives or skin blisters.

Children are at higher risk than adults for illness because their smaller size can allow them to get a relatively larger dose of toxin.