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Algae bloom at Oso Flaco Lake poses dangers to wildlife and visitors

Posted at 6:15 PM, Aug 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-30 21:15:43-04

Oso Flaco Lake near Nipomo is experiencing a large algae bloom that is killing wildlife and has residents concerned.

Jennifer Williams, a Nipomo resident, has been coming to Oso Flaco Lake for six years but says she has never seen the lake in this condition.

"I wanted people to see the situation out here, maybe there's someone who can help," Williams said.

The algae bloom is starting to cover a large portion of the lake, making it not only unappealing to the eye but harmful for wildlife.

"We spent about ten minutes watching a hawk trying to get out of the algae. It was stuck because once they land, it looks like grass to them, and they land on it and think they can fly and their wings get stuck and they can't get out," Williams explained.

Fish and birds are falling victim to the algae and it's not hard to spot them in the water.

Ronnie Glick, a senior environmental scientist with California State Parks says there's a variety of factors behind the algae blooms.

"We have no flow into these water bodies. We have long days, so a lot of sun, warmer days and often we'll have these algae blooms that come. There's also a human component to that, where if you have urban or industrial or agricultural runoff into these water bodies, you will also have things that stimulate those algae blooms," Glick said.

Glick is aware of the potential dangers the blooms pose to wildlife and says State Parks has a long-term plan in place to address the algae blooms.

"What we're trying to do long-term is working with regulators, with local landowners, with agricultural operators, to really implement better water quality management practices," Glick said.

Glick says that algae blooms are happening in other lakes and bodies of water in the area and adds it's going to take a long term solution to help fix the problem.