Fern Ridge Lake Recreational Use Notice
LANE COUNTY, Oregon – The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) today issued a Recreational Health Advisory for Fern Ridge Lake due to the presence of an overgrowth of cyanobacteria and cyanotoxins that may be harmful to humans and pets.
People should avoid swimming and high-speed water activities, such as water skiing or motor boating, in areas of the lake where blooms are found, as the main route of exposure is through ingestion of water . Toxins are not absorbed through the skin. However, if you have skin sensitivities, you may get a swollen red rash.
We encourage you to visit Fern Ridge Lake and enjoy activities such as fishing, camping, hiking, biking, picnics, and bird watching. Boating is safe as long as the speeds don’t create excessive water spray. Sprays may pose a risk of inhalation of cyanotoxins.
Drinking water directly from areas of the lake affected by an overgrowth is particularly dangerous. Toxins cannot be removed by boiling, filtering, or treating water with camping type filters. Contact the campground management or local health department with any questions about the water available at nearby campgrounds or day-use areas.
Not all private treatment systems are effective at removing cyanotoxins. If you are not using a well or public water supply system and you are drawing home water directly from an affected area, it is advisable to use another water source.
Children and pets
Children and pets are at increased risk of exposure due to their size and activity level. Dogs can get extremely sick and even die within minutes to hours of cyanotoxin exposure from drinking water, licking their fur, or eating toxins from the floating mats or dried crust along the shore. This regardless of a health notice on recreational use in place. Just like dogs, livestock and wildlife can become ill and die after drinking from bodies of water, waterers, or other drinking water sources affected by blooms and potential toxins.
Exposure to cyanotoxins can be severe and cause a variety of symptoms. Symptoms can be similar to those of food poisoning, such as stomach cramps, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. Symptoms can also be more serious, such as numbness, tingling, dizziness, and shortness of breath. These symptoms may require medical attention. Dogs may experience weakness, difficulty walking, seizures, lethargy, loss of appetite, and more. If your dog is showing symptoms, you should see a vet as soon as possible.
Fish caught in areas where cyanobacteria blooms are present should have fat, skin and organs removed before cooking or freezing. Toxins are more likely to build up in these tissues. The fillets should also be rinsed with clean water.
For health information or to report illness, contact the OHA at 971-673-0482.