Toxic algae is present at Heart Lake. Recent testing by the Skagit County Health Department has verified that the bloom has become toxic and new warning signs are up.
The county health department issued warnings Friday morning that Skagit County lakes have been showing evidence of significant blue green algae blooms in recent weeks. Blue green algae can produce toxins that are harmful to humans and animals.
Water samples tested this week from Heart Lake in Anacortes and Big Lake in Skagit County both showed the presence of blue green algae toxins. The level of the acute neurotoxin Anatoxin-a in Heart Lake has triggered the posting of warning signs around the lake.
Until further notice people should not swim in the lake, drink lake water, or allow pets or horses access to the lake water. Fish caught from Heart Lake should be cleaned well and guts discarded. Areas of scum should be avoided when boating.
Big Lake has visual evidence of a significant bloom but toxin levels remain below the Warning level. Toxin levels can change quickly so users of Big Lake should avoid areas of scum and intensely colored water. A Caution sign has been posted at the public access boat ramp at Big Lake.
Water samples will be tested weekly from both lakes while the blooms persist.
Users of Deception Pass State Park should be aware that Cranberry Lake in the Island County portion of the park remains closed until further notice due to high Anatoxin-a levels.