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Posted on: May 13, 2021


20210513_cyanobacteria bloom tim photo credit anderson lake

May 13, 2021
For Immediate Release
Jefferson County Community Health
Contact: Mike Dawson, Water Quality Manager
(360) 985-9444 x301

Port Townsend  Very high levels of the potent nerve toxin anatoxin-a were detected in a water sample taken from Anderson Lake on Monday, May 10th. The toxin level is 1,396 micrograms per liter, which is well above the Washington State recreational criteria of 1 microgram per liter. The bloom of cyanobacteria in the lake contains toxin-producing species of algae, including Dolichospermum (formerly Anabaena) and Aphanizomenon. Anatoxin-a can result in illness and death in people and animals when ingested. Washington State Parks has posted “Danger – Lake Closed” signs at access points to the park alerting visitors of the hazards. Recreational activities such as fishing, boating, and swimming are prohibited until the toxins dissipate and the lake is deemed safe for recreation. Anderson Lake State Park remains open for other recreational activities such as horseback riding, hiking, biking and birdwatching.  

JCPH has monitored local lakes for cyanobacteria since 2007 and Anderson Lake has had closures every year since then. In May 2019, a dog died after short exposure to Anderson Lake water. Other dog deaths have occurred in the past. In addition to Anderson Lake, Crocker, Gibbs, Leland, Silent, and Tarboo lakes have all been assessed for cyanobacteria activity this year and found no evidence of blooms forming.

To check the status of Jefferson County Lakes and learn more about toxic cyanobacteria monitoring, consult the JCPH website at or call (360) 385-9444. For fishing seasons and regulations, see the WDFW website Information on visiting Anderson Lake State Park is available at

Photo description: Cyanobacteria bloom at Anderson Lake, May 10, 2021


Jefferson County Public Health
Always Working for a Safer and Healthier Community

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