The Benton Franklin Health Department has posted signs and closed the shorelines of the Columbia for Howard Amon, Leslie Groves Parks, and other parts of the river that border Richland, due to harmful toxic algae.

For good measure, might be a good idea to stay out of the water further downstream as well.

 This is the first time we can remember this being done in the metro Tri-Cities area. Moses Lake deals with this almost every year, but not here.

At least four dogs are known to have died from ingesting the algae, unconfirmed reports say five.  Several others were reported to have gotten very ill.

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However, due to record-setting temps, plus lower river flows, we not only saw an explosion of milfoil that almost ruined the Columbia Cup Hydro Races, but it ALSO triggers the massive growth of the algae.

It's formally known as Cyranobacteria, but we know it as ugly.  But it can be deadly to pets, especially dogs.

ALSO toxins accumulate in fish and other water borne creatures, the algae is likely going to (if not already) kill off at least some fish in the river.

But toxic algae, while new here, is not to our region. In fact some irrigation districts encourage people to clean their valves, pumps, and lines if they can to eliminate the build-up of the stuff.

It is not known how long this closure of the Richland shoreline will be in effect.


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