Blue-green Algae Work Group

The Klamath Blue-green algae workgroup is composed of monitoring organizations, health officials and interested parties working together to better inform the public regarding Klamath Basin blue-green algae blooms the potential health risks.

The Klamath River Blue-Green Algae Working Group (KRBGAWG) was officially convened in late spring of 2006. The main task of the working group has been to administer the use of funding provided by PacifiCorp under the MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company (MEHC) agreement. The MEHC agreement specifically states that "PacifiCorp will provide $150,000 per year for three years to fund a study to identify the presence, distribution, and possible causes of blue-green algae, including Microcystis aeruginosa and any other similar toxic species algae, and their toxins, within the Klamath Basin." The agreement also specifies that this study should be conducted by an independent consultant but administered jointly by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA or lead agency), CalEPA's North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board, California Department of Fish and Game, Del Norte, Humboldt, Klamath and Siskiyou County health agencies, the Klamath, Yurok, Karuk and Hoopa Valley Tribes, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the National Marine Fisheries Service. The working group includes representatives from these entities in addition to others including, California Department of Health Services, CalEPA's Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, California Department of Water Resources, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, U. S. Bureau of Land Management, UC Davis California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory, The Nature Conservancy, and U. S. Geological Survey.

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Collaborative Monitoring and Research

Several monitoring organizations have been monitoring blue-green algae in the Klamath Basin since 2005. In 2009, as part of a collaborative effort funded through the Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement, participating organizations (Yurok Tribe, Karuk Tribe, PacifiCorp, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation) developed a collaborative sampling schedule for monitoring during the bloom season from Copco Reservoir to the Estuary. Blue-green algae is also monitored in the Upper Basin including Upper Klamath Lake, below Link Dam, and recreational lakes throughout the Upper Basin.

The Klamath River Blue Green Algae Work Group continues to collaborate and develop new avenues of research. Areas of new research include, genomic sequencing of Microcystis aeruginosa, environmental nutrient analysis, draft an animal response plan, and fish and fresh water mussel tissue analysis for cyanotoxins.

For additional information on blue-green algae monitoring and available data, visit the Blue-Green Algae Tracker.