Umpqua National Forest officials hope to learn today that the pea-green soup present last weekend in Diamond Lake is pine pollen — and not potentially unhealthy levels of blue-green algae.
Forest Service hydrologists took water samples at the lake Monday after anglers reported seeing what appeared to be a large and quick-growing bloom of algae at the lake.
The lake has been the picture of health since fall of 2006, when the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife poisoned the lake to remove an estimated 100 million non-native tui chub that crippled the lake's trout fishery and triggered blue-green algae blooms.
"It's probably both (pollen and algae)," Umpqua Forest hydrologist Mikael Jones says.
Regular tests have shown the presence of blue-green algae at very low levels, Jones says. It's possible that the recent hot weather has brought an increase to that algae or to algae species not potentially harmful to people or pets, he says.
The lake has also been inundated with pine pollen that gives the lake a greenish hue reminiscent of blue-green algae, he says.
"With the wave action, the pine pollen mixes with the algae," Jones says. "It makes it harder to tell if it was a big bloom or not. There are a lot of variables there."
A big blue-green algae bloom is not expected because the lake has had excellent health readings since 2007, says Laura Jackson, the ODFW's Umpqua District fish biologist.
Results on the water-quality tests could be available today, Jones says.
A popular U.S. Forest Service road used by rafters leaving the Wild and Scenic Section of the Rogue River will be closed beginning next week for road construction.
Forest Service Road No. 3348, also known as Eden Valley Road, will be closed for six days between July 19 and July 28 while road crews continue repairs to an area of the road that failed in a 2009 slide.
Eden Valley Road is commonly used by motorists to travel between Powers in southern Coos County and Glendale in Douglas County. It is commonly driven by rafters who leave the Rogue at Agness and travel back to Interstate 5 before heading north.
Wild Rogue rafters returning to the Rogue Valley usually prefer the Bear Camp Road trek through the Siskiyou Mountains.
Eden Valley Road is expected to be closed Monday through Wednesday, July 19-21, then again July 26-28.
Traffic will be detoured over secondary, gravel forest roads, increasing travel time by about 30 minutes, according to the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest.
For more information, telephone the Powers Ranger District at 541-439-6200.
Today marks the start of the annual conservation closure on Clatsop County beaches to protect the next generation of razor clams from capture by recreational diggers along the most popular clamming beaches in Oregon.
Since 1967, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has closed 18 miles of beaches north of Tillamook Head, and the closure lasts until Sept. 30.
This period is a busy one for ODFW shellfish biologists to determine the health of the area's clam population, which accounts for about 90 percent of Oregon's recreational shellfish fishery.
Clammers normally could dig at other state beaches during the Clatsop conservation closure, but the ODFW has closed all recreational razor clam harvesting from Coos Bay to Tillamook Head due to elevated levels of domoic acid.
The head park ranger for the Oregon Coast National Wildlife Refuge Complex has been named this year's Federal Land Manager of the Year for the U.S. Forest Service.
Dawn Grafe recently won the award, which is given as part of the federal Department of the Interior's "Take Pride in America" program.
Grafe will be recognized during a ceremony Friday at the Interior Department's main office in Washington, D.C.
Grafe is responsible for overseeing outreach, recreation, environmental education and volunteer programs at several of the refuge complex's holdings along the Oregon Coast.
Her award came in part because she expanded the refuge's coastal volunteer interpreter program to include more locations along the coast, as well as RV sites for resident volunteers.
That effort has expanded a volunteer presence to places like Simpson Reef, Coquille Point and Harris Beach along the Southern Oregon coast.
Reach reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470, or e-mail email@example.com.