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Public Health News

Posted on: July 23, 2021

Gibbs Lake Closed due to Toxin

Gibbs Lake cyanobacteria bloom Danger Closed photo by Tim Weissman

July 23, 2021
For Immediate Release
Jefferson County Public Health
Michael Dawson, Water Quality Manager
360-385-9444 ext. 301

Port Townsend – High levels of the toxin microcystin were detected in a water sample taken from Gibbs Lake on Monday, July 19. The toxin level is 46 micrograms per liter, which is more than five times above the Washington State recreational criteria of 8 micrograms per liter. Microcystin is produced by cyanobacteria, also known as bluegreen algae, and can result in illnesses in people and animals. As a result, Jefferson County Parks and Recreation has closed the lake for swimming, boating and fishing. Visitors are also urged to keep pets out of the water. Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) has posted Danger signs at lake access points and signboards. The rest of Gibbs Lake County Park remains open for hiking, biking, and horseback riding.

JCPH has monitored local lakes for cyanobacteria seasonally since 2007. Monthly monitoring of Anderson, Gibbs, and Leland lakes began in April of this year. Anderson Lake closed in May due to high levels of anatoxin-a, another toxin produced by cyanobacteria. Low concentrations of microcystin and no anatoxin-a were detected in Lake Leland on July 6. Lake conditions can change rapidly and lake status can change between samples. JCPH urges recreationists to avoid contact with heavy blooms or scums. If you observe a bloom in a Jefferson County lake, please report it by calling (360) 385-9444.

To check the status of Jefferson County Lakes and learn more about toxic cyanobacteria monitoring, consult the JCPH website at www.jeffersoncountypublichealth.org or call (360) 385-9444. For fishing seasons and regulations see the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife website www.wdfw.wa.gov/fishing. Information on visiting Gibbs Lake County Park is available at www.countyrec.com.

Photo credit: Tim Weissman

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Jefferson County Public Health
Always working for a safer and healthier community

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