The summer weather is heating up the water in lakes and ocean beaches. This can lead to increased risk from algae toxins and bacterial contamination. Please follow the guidance before you recreate or consume shellfish!
Blue green algae toxins in lakes: Some Skagit County lakes are experiencing blue green algae blooms. These blooms can release harmful toxins. Obtain current information for Skagit County lakes by calling 360-416-1555 or e-mailing EH@co.skagit.wa.us . General information for Washington lakes and past sample results can be found at www.nwtoxicalgae.org .
Bacterial contamination at Bayview State Park beach: Bayview State Park has been closed twice this summer due to high levels of fecal bacteria in the water. To check the current status of the beach go to http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/eap/beach/ .
Shellfish biotoxins: Always check before you dig for shellfish! Hazardous marine biotoxins will be increasing in area shellfish as the season progresses. Biotoxins are NOT destroyed by cooking! Make sure you know the status of your harvest beach by checking the Washington State Department of Health Biotoxin Bulletin at https://fortress.wa.gov/doh/eh/portal/odw/si/BiotoxinBulletin.aspx or calling the hotline 1-800-562-5632.
Shellfish Vibreo levels: Vibreo bacteria levels will be rising in shellfish as the waters warm. Consuming raw or undercooked shellfish can lead to serious diarrheal illness from Vibreo infection. Cooking shellfish to 145 degrees F will kill the bacteria. Always harvest shellfish from beaches that are open and safe for biotoxins and always cook shellfish completely to kill pathogens.