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Toxic algae returns to Virginia Lake


People and pets should avoid all contact with the water at Virginia Lake for at least the next two months, according to officials at the City of Reno. The lake, once again, is contaminated due to an algae bloom. 

Virginia Lake had a toxic algae bloom last year as well, at nearly the same time of year. The lake at Paradise Park in Sparks also regularly develops toxic algae blooms.

Warmer summer temperatures are only partly to blame for the algae blooms. Low water levels, low flow and circulation in the lake, and high phosphorus levels – often caused by urban runoff – all contribute to the growth of the algae. 

City Parks and Recreation Director Jamie Schroeder said the city doesn’t have control over the water flow into Virginia Lake. “Due to the drought and the low level of the water in the Truckee River, water entering the Cochran ditch is reduced, so we are unable to properly circulate Virginia Lake,” she said. 

The algae bloom promotes the growth of cyanotoxins which are a major health concern for people, pets, fish, birds and other mammals, especially when ingested. 

The bloom is unrelated to recent botulism outbreaks reported in local ponds, city officials said. 

Source: City of Reno

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