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Warnings posted about toxic blue-green algae at Salmon Creek Lagoon in Bodega Bay

State and county officials have begun posting signs warning residents of the potential for toxic blue-green algae blooms in Sonoma County.

Signs posted Friday morning at Salmon Creek Lagoon in Bodega Bay caution visitors to stay away from algae and scum in the water, avoid eating shellfish from affected waters and thoroughly clean fish caught from those areas.

Additional advisory signs expected to be posted as the season wears on, health officials said in a Sunday morning news release.

A closer look at the signs posted at Salmon Creek Lagoon in Bodega Bay. (Sonoma County)
A closer look at the signs posted at Salmon Creek Lagoon in Bodega Bay. (Sonoma County)

Blue-green algae thrives in warm, slow-moving water containing excessive nutrients and can multiply exponentially to create large “blooms,” which often look like thick, paint-like scum floating on the water’s surface, among other appearances, according to a news release from the Sonoma County Department of Health Services.

Blooms can be green, white, red or brown. Symptoms of exposure include eye irritation, skin rash, mouth ulcers, vomiting, diarrhea and cold and flu-like symptoms.

Children and dogs are especially susceptible to the toxic algae, according to the release, as they are more likely to swallow water while swimming. Since 2015, three dogs are thought to have died in Sonoma County after exposure to blue-green algae.

The warning signs were put up out of an “abundance of caution,” according to health officials. It wasn’t clear Sunday whether blue-green algae bloom had been observed at Salmon Creek Lagoon.

You can reach Staff Writer Tyler Silvy at 707-526-8667 or tyler.silvy@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @tylersilvy.

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