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Be on the lookout for cyanobacteria on Utah waters

SALT LAKE CITY – While you’re enjoying Utah’s lakes, rivers and streams this summer, the Division of Water Quality wants you to look out for cyanobacteria.

They have their favorite spots and division crews know where to go.

“We target areas where recreation is highest,” said Harmful Algal Bloom Program coordinator Ben Holcomb. “We target culinary water sources. Those tend to be high-risk.”

Holcomb says cyanobacteria look like blue-green algae, but they’re not algae which are helpful to ecosystems.

Cyanobacteria do produce toxins that can kill pets and harm humans.

“They can affect your liver and nervous system, and it could just lead to a rash,” Holcomb said. “That’s still an irritant, so we’d like to let the public know to avoid certain areas.”

Utah’s Division of Water Quality offers the Bloom Watch app you can download to photograph and submit suspicious growths in open waters.