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Water Safety Agency explains algal bloom on Souris River and advises pet owners to avoid –

The River Souris is currently covered in thick foamy seaweed, which has been apparent since the heat wave a few weeks ago here in Weyburn.

We asked Water Safety Agency spokesman Patrick Boyle why it happened this year, but not every year.

“It’s weather-related, so any time you have an algal bloom or blue-green algae in a body of water in Saskatchewan, it’s two different things doing that.”

He said it’s a combination of hot and dry weather, with days of 30 degrees or higher, and not much wind.

“If you don’t get a lot of wind and wave action, it creates really favorable conditions for algae to grow,” he explained. “It’s just a matter of local conditions in certain areas and whether it’s hot or dry and not wind and wave action on the body of water because it won’t break.”

Boyle said that to clean up algae, a change of weather is needed. However, some areas of our same weather system have not experienced the same algae development as the Mice.

“It just depends on the area. A nearby area can be very different from another,” he noted. “It’s just that formation on any body of water. You can have a part of a lake that has an algae bloom and then go down a few hundred meters along the shoreline and be perfectly fine. So it’s pretty common no matter what the system is, so it’s no surprise to anyone here at the Water Safety Agency.”

He said other factors could be the cause, but weather conditions are the most predominant reason for the bloom.

Although algae can make a human sick, it is important to keep pets away from it.

“It’s generally good practice to avoid algae blooms and those high concentrations where you see these things,” Boyle commented. “For humans, direct contact or unintentional consumption of seaweed can cause skin flushing, sore throat, cramps, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.”

“Seaweed can be deadly to pets that ingest it, because, think of your dog walking along the river or a body of water, and drinking that large amount, it can be harmful to animals.”

He advised avoiding algal blooms until they break when the weather changes.

Some of the flowers pictured in the gallery below are not all algae, but duckweed.