Waters Out of Whack
Fueled by warmer weather patterns, slow moving water, and human-caused pollution, harmful algae blooms are becoming more common across Oregon.
This June, people living in Salem were on alert with a drinking water advisory from toxic algae for nearly a month. Last summer, three people fell ill from ingesting toxic algae at Lake Billy Chinook, and 32 cows died in Southern Oregon from drinking water fouled by a harmful algae bloom.
These toxic outbreaks contaminate our drinking water and expose children and families to dangerous health risks, as well as threaten fish and wildlife that depend on clean rivers to live.
View our storymap below or online here to learn more about how algae affects communities and ecosystems across the state.
With this mapping project, we wanted to visualize how extensive the algae risk is across Oregon, explore how the underlying causes are different or the same in various parts of the state, and continue to add to the conversation about how to deal with this growing threat.
Understanding what is causing algae to explode in some areas is key to finding solutions that can protect public health, help Oregon businesses continue to thrive under these changing conditions, and preserve our environment and our summers for future generations.
At the end of the day, algae blooms are a symptom of a system out of balance. Investing upstream in healthy rivers, riparian areas and reducing runoff will be key to addressing to the root of this issue. Learn more about algae in Oregon here.
EXPLORE TOXIC ALGAE IN OREGON BELOW