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Harmful Algae Blooms
Girl on dock

Funding for the HABS program ended as of September 30, 2013, and many program functions are no longer available. However, the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) is committed to continue to collect and review information on harmful algae blooms, and to inform the public through the issuing and lifting of advisories when water sampling and blue-green algae data warrants. This information allows people to take protective action to avoid illness before they decide where to recreate.

In order to issue and lift advisories, the OHA must rely on water sampling data provided by our partners. As of this summer, some partners have decided to reduce or eliminate identification and water sampling of harmful algae blooms. This change will affect many of the well known and well used lakes and reservoirs where you typically may have seen an advisory during the summer months. In these cases, waterbody managers will have placed permanent signs at well used access points for outreach and educational purposes, and you will no longer see the familiar green and gold OHA signage.

OHA will encourage our partners (waterbody managers and local health departments) to continue to monitor and submit blue-green algae data because without this data, staff are unable to advise the public on some of the most popular summer recreation spots, and to make recommendations regarding recreational activities.

As with most waterbodies in Oregon that are not monitored, OHA staff recommend that you become familiar with your surroundings and know the signs of an algae bloom before you take the plunge. Don't go into water that is foamy, scummy, thick like paint, pea-green, blue-green or brownish red. A good rule of thumb for you and your pet is; When in Doubt, Stay Out!

If you believe you or your pet have been exposed to a harmful algae bloom, OHA staff are available to answer health related questions and to receive and document illness reports. We will also provide you with contact information for our partners who can give you the most up-to-date information about local recreation areas, water quality and sampling.

Be aware, be safe and have a great summer season!

Check current water conditions

Check shellfish safety closures

The Oregon Department of Agriculture and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife jointly monitor for marine biotoxins and alert recreational harvesters when clams or mussels have been contaminated. 

Check algae resources for drinking water

OHA's Drinking Water Services provides information regarding algae blooms and drinking water.


     Join Our Listserv

The HABS program has created a listserv to share information with partners, stakeholders and interested public. When a health advisory is issued, an email is sent to subscribers that includes the news release and water sample results (algae species and cell counts). Emails are also sent when an advisory is lifted. Other timely information may be periodically shared as well. To join the list, email us at