State agencies launch website, hotline to report harmful algal b - ABC FOX Montana Local News, Weather, Sports KTMF | KWYB

State agencies launch website, hotline to report harmful algal blooms

Posted: Updated:
HELENA -

The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) and the Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) are enlisting the public's help with identifying suspected Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs).

Officials said in a press release to ABC FOX Montana that HAB's are a seasonal phenomenon on Montana's lakes, reservoirs and ponds that can make people sick and even kill pets and livestock.

On Friday, the two agencies launched a HAB reporting website as well as a 24-hour hotline at 1-888-849-2938.

"Harmful Algal Blooms can present a health risk to people and animals," said Laura Williamson, state epidemiologist at DPHHS. 

Direct skin contact or inhalation of the toxic blue-green algae may cause irritation of the skin, eyes, nose, or throat and people may experience respiratory symptoms after exposure. 

Nationally, there have been no human deaths caused by HAB exposure. However, animal deaths, such as livestock, pets and wildlife, have been cause by HABs.

"In addition to educating folks about the danger, we're asking the public to be our eyes out in the field so we can respond quickly and hopefully prevent people, pets or livestock from getting sick," Williamson said.

The website allows users the time and date that an algal bloom is observed, upload photos of the bloom and pinpoint the GPS location. 

The site also includes the phone number for Poison Control, which should be called immediately if a HAB-related illness is suspected in a person or animal.

Blooms of potentially toxic blue-green algae appear as "pea soup," "grass clippings," or "green latex paint."  

The algae usually are suspended in the water column or aggregated into floating mats. They do not grow from the bottom as do mosses or "water weeds." 

Algae bloom in abundance this time of year on Montana's ponds, lakes and reservoirs. While not all varieties are harmful, some can produce dangerous cyanotoxins.

"Nationally this issue has gotten so much attention," said Eric Urban, DEQ Water Quality Planning Bureau Chief. In Montana, Hebgen Lake Reservoir had a confirmed HAB last summer that lasted into October with "alarming levels" of cyanotoxins, Urban said.

Photo: Algal Bloom in Salmon Lake, 2013
Courtesy: Clearwater Resource Council  

  • Most Popular

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Hunter attacked by bear near Hungry Horse reservoir

    Hunter attacked by bear near Hungry Horse reservoir

    Monday, September 25 2017 5:45 PM EDT2017-09-25 21:45:41 GMT

    KALISPELL, Mont. (AP) - A hunter was attacked by a bear in northwestern Montana over the weekend. Fish, Wildlife and Parks personnel are investigating the apparent surprise encounter Sunday morning on the east side of Hungry Horse Reservoir.

    KALISPELL, Mont. (AP) - A hunter was attacked by a bear in northwestern Montana over the weekend. Fish, Wildlife and Parks personnel are investigating the apparent surprise encounter Sunday morning on the east side of Hungry Horse Reservoir.

  • Snow sticks in Big Sky, resort transitions from summer to winter

    Snow sticks in Big Sky, resort transitions from summer to winter

    Friday, September 22 2017 7:34 PM EDT2017-09-22 23:34:29 GMT

    Snow is sticking at Big Sky Mountain Resort, spreading ‘ski fever’ across the state.

    Snow is sticking at Big Sky Mountain Resort, spreading ‘ski fever’ across the state.

  • 97-year-old WWII vet takes a knee in support of anthem protests

    97-year-old WWII vet takes a knee in support of anthem protests

    Monday, September 25 2017 2:25 PM EDT2017-09-25 18:25:28 GMT

    Brennan Gilmore posted a Twitter picture Sunday morning of his grandfather, John Middlemas, kneeling while wearing a veteran's cap.

    Brennan Gilmore posted a Twitter picture Sunday morning of his grandfather, John Middlemas, kneeling while wearing a veteran's cap.

  • Little fire activity expected for Rice Ridge

    Little fire activity expected for Rice Ridge

    Monday, September 25 2017 2:28 PM EDT2017-09-25 18:28:59 GMT

    Firefighters cleaning up the Rice Ridge Fire will continue working on the North Fork Blackfoot trail and the areas of residual heat near the Monture Guard Station. Crews and equipment will be moving to the Double Arrow area to begin suppression repair work there.

    Firefighters cleaning up the Rice Ridge Fire will continue working on the North Fork Blackfoot trail and the areas of residual heat near the Monture Guard Station. Crews and equipment will be moving to the Double Arrow area to begin suppression repair work there.

  • Official: US not seeking regime change in NKorea

    Official: US not seeking regime change in NKorea

    Monday, September 25 2017 1:21 PM EDT2017-09-25 17:21:20 GMT

    WASHINGTON (AP) - The Trump administration says it is not advocating regime change in North Korea after President Donald Trump tweeted that leader Kim Jong Un "won't be around much longer."

    WASHINGTON (AP) - The Trump administration says it is not advocating regime change in North Korea after President Donald Trump tweeted that leader Kim Jong Un "won't be around much longer."

  • ABC FOX Montana news live stream

    ABC FOX Montana news live stream

    Monday, May 9 2016 4:06 PM EDT2016-05-09 20:06:05 GMT

    ABC FOX Montana provides local news, breaking news, weather, sports and information for Western and South Central Montana. Tune in to the ABC News at 5:30 and 10 and FOX News at 9 pm and watch our LIVE stream here, every weekday night. 

    ABC FOX Montana provides local news, breaking news, weather, sports and information for Western and South Central Montana. Tune in to the ABC News at 5:30 and 10 and FOX News at 9 pm and watch our LIVE stream here, every weekday night. 

  • Our Apologies

    The page you requested is currently unavailable. Pages on this site are constantly being revised, updated, and occasionally removed. You may have followed an outdated link or have outdated pages in your

    You have reached a page which is currently unavailable. We apologize for any inconvenience. Please use your browser's BACK button to return to the previous page

  • Tennessee church shooting suspect charged with murder

    Tennessee church shooting suspect charged with murder

    Monday, September 25 2017 4:37 AM EDT2017-09-25 08:37:42 GMT

    Police identified the attacker as 25-year-old Emanuel Kidega Samson, who had at one point attended the church.

    Police identified the attacker as 25-year-old Emanuel Kidega Samson, who had at one point attended the church.

Powered by Frankly

Features

  • More Features
  • Powered by WorldNow
    All content © Copyright 2000 - 2017 Cowles Montana Media. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.