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MailTribune.com
  • Diamond Lake being tested for algae bloom

    Though the culprit may be pine pollen, not algae, officials say
  • 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.
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  • 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.
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