UTAH — With 16 waterbodies in Utah continuing under a harmful algal bloom advisory, waterfowl hunters have more things to consider than just their gear or the hunts themselves. The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (UDWR) is reminding hunters to inform themselves of health advisories prior to going on their hunt to avoid what could be a significant health risk.
Although typically associated with warm weather, harmful algal blooms can persist into the fall and winter months. These blooms can pose a potential threat to hunters and their pets. The cyanobacteria produce several kinds of toxins that can affect the liver, nerves, and skin tissue.
“Beginning at the end of the month, some active advisories will be lifted, and signs and website posts will start to come down,” Utah Department of Environmental Quality Communications Director Ashley Sumner said. “However, it’s essential to know that these blooms can continue in colder weather. People should know what to look for, and when in doubt, keep your pets and hunting dogs out of the water.”
Algal blooms can take on the appearance of pea soup, spilled paint, grass clippings, or even water that has a green or blue-green coloration. It’s important to look at the water and avoid contact should there be any suspicion of an algal bloom being present.
A dog can even be exposed from licking its fur that had come into contact with contaminated water. Unfortunately, even with immediate care from a veterinarian, exposure to a harmful algal bloom for a dog or other pet is likely to be fatal.
The Utah Department of Water Quality (UDWQ) is asking that the public is on the lookout for algal blooms and, if suspected, to report them to the UDWQ by calling 801-536-4123.