SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. (KTXL) — If you’re visiting South Lake Tahoe, there’s two beaches you might want to avoid.
City officials announced on Saturday they’ve detected harmful algal blooms at El Dorado Beach. This comes after blooms had also been detected at Regan Beach the previous week, forcing its closure.
Signs dot these beaches at South Lake Tahoe, warning people that algae may be present in the water, potentially posing a hazard to both people and pets.
Geoffrey Schladow, director of the Tahoe Environmental Research Center at UC Davis, said people and pets should avoid getting in or drinking the water.
“Primarily, it can affect their liver and cause skin irritation,” Schladow said. “There have been reports from various places of animals dying from extreme cases of toxicity. But I think the levels here are not as high as they have been in those cases.”
Schladow, Ph.D., reminded that not all algae is toxic, but in this case it may be best to play it safe.
“Algal blooms can be toxic; they are not always toxic,” Schladow said.
Schladow told FOX40 that harmful algal blooms have been increasing over the past few years.
“They like warm water and they like high nutrient concentration,” Schladow said. “Largely in part because of climate change.”
The recent wildfire smoke could be a contributing factor in the elevated nutrient concentration but Schladow said the institute is still looking into that.
“Those conditions are becoming prevalent in lakes and reservoirs and even at Lake Tahoe,” Schladow said.