The Gallatin City-County Health Department recently detected a toxic algae bloom in a privately-owned pond in Bozeman. It’s the first one in the county this year.
Gallatin County temporarily closed a pond at Sundance Springs Subdivision on July 10 after test results came back positive for algal toxins, which are released by certain types of algae after rapid growth followed by decay.
People, pets and livestock that swallow or have prolonged exposure to these toxins may experience diarrhea, vomiting, convulsions, paralysis and death. County officials say the harmful algae bloom at the pond near Sourdough Trial in Bozeman may have been the cause of a dog death Sunday.
Denise Moldroski, a sanitarian with the Gallatin City-County Health Department, told YPR this was the first toxic algae bloom in the county this year. She said most happen later in the summer at Hebgen Lake.
Hannah Riedel with the Montana Department of Environmental Quality says the state receives about 60 reports of algae blooms each summer;
“So they’re pretty common. It’s much less common that there are toxins associated with the blooms. The toxins do not always co-occur. It’s just a possibility and so it’s a good thing to be cautious of,” Riedel says.
She says algae blooms are naturally occurring, “but they’re occurring with more frequency and across a larger swath of the landscape, and a lot of that can be driven by things like nutrient pollution and warmer temperatures and longer growing seasons.”
The state’s website has resources to help people identify and submit reports of suspicious blooms, learn about nutrient pollution prevention, and tips on keeping people and animals safe.
The Gallatin County health department will conduct more confirmation sampling at the pond in Bozeman with guidance from DEQ and the Environmental Protection Agency.