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'Lethal' for dogs, humans: CRD issues toxins warning for Saanich lake

Saanich News - 11/29/2023

The Capital Regional District (CRD) advises, in consultation with Island Health, that there is a blue-green algae bloom at Beaver Lake, located in Elk/Beaver Lake Regional Park in Saanich.

This advisory is in addition to existing advisories still in effect for Durrance Lake, located in Mount Work Regional Park, Thetis Lake, located in Thetis Lake Regional Park and Elk Lake in Elk/Beaver Lake Regional Park. Blue-green algae can produce cyanotoxins.

"Visitors are advised to avoid contact with blue green algae and to keep animals on a leash to prevent them from drinking or swimming in the lake until the advisory has been lifted," said a CRD news release.

"The algae usually produce a visible blue-green sheen, which appears as surface scum on the water. Not all blooms are easy to see and toxins can still be present in the water even if you cannot see a bloom. Blooms are unpredictable and may occur at any time."

These algae are known toxin producers. Ingesting water containing these cyanotoxins may cause a range of symptoms, including headaches and abdominal pain in humans, and can lead to lethal liver damage in dogs.