Sonoma County public health officials have once again posted warnings about the presence of toxic blue-green algae along beaches on the Russian River. As the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat reports, test now show low levels of blue-green algae in the river, and people are warned to keep their dogs out of the water or else risk possibly fatal exposure.
At least three dogs' deaths were blamed on the algae last year in Sonoma and Mendocino County.
Children are also most at risk, but the algae which should be distinguished from the harmless green algae always found in the river can cause severe symptoms in humans ranging from eye irritation to gastrointestinal problems and seizures.
Similar warnings happened last September at the height of the drought, when water levels in the river were notably lower. But this is just a good reminder that drought conditions are not over. And, indeed, as the Press-Democrat explains, "The State Water Resources Control Board recently issued a similar warning for the entire North Coast, noting that high temperatures and continuing drought conditions increase the likelihood of potentially lethal algal blooms in area streams, rivers and lakes."