City of Reno officials are advising residents to keep themselves and their pets away from the pond waters at Teglia’s Paradise Park until further notice. The water is contaminated as a result of an algae bloom, and any contact with it can be dangerous.
City parks and recreation staff will post caution signs in English and Spanish around the ponds.
The combined drought-induced low-water condition, high phosphorus levels and extremely low flow has created the conditions for a blue-green algae bloom. The presence of the algae promotes the growth of a class of toxins known as cyanotoxins.
There is a high risk of potentially harmful concentration of these toxins, which is a significant concern for the public’s health, as well as for pets, fish, birds and mammals, especially when ingested.
A similar warning was issued for Virginia Lake last month. It’s been a recurring problem in years past. A similar algae bloom closed the beaches at Pyramid Lake in 2020 and was reported again last week.
Dogs are particularly susceptible to poisoning from algae blooms, according to the American Kennel Club, because they’re more likely to ingest the water while playing in it.
The signs of blue-green algae poisoning can show up in dogs within minutes. The symptoms include diarrhea, voting, weakness, drooling, confusion seizures and difficulty breathing.
It was announced in July that University of Nevada, Reno, Assistant Professor Joanna Blaszczak is conducting research to identify what conditions are conducive to producing these algae blooms, so water managers can know when they are going to occur and take actions to better protect animals, humans and river ecosystems.
The research will be conducted through 2023 and is funded by almost $200,000 from the National Science Foundation’s Division of Environmental Biology.
For more information about cyanobacteria/cyanotoxins, visit the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) website.