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New Melones, Camanche Reservoirs Showing Algal Growth

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Sonora, CA – The latest satellite images of local lakes indicate some potential for algal blooms.

On Monday, Clarke Broadcasting, which monitors a satellite tool that shows concentrations of algal growth, noticed New Melones in Tuolumne County and Camanche in Calaveras both showed some build-up. We reached out to Tuolumne County Environmental Director Rob Kostlivy and Bureau of Reclamation officials who are still looking into the situation.

As reported here, last summer in July and August, concentrations of cyanobacteria led to the posting of advisory signs and field testing to determine if it posed a health hazard. The bloom originated in the Stanislaus above Melones and was carefully monitored. It did not test positive for hazardous cyanobacteria and related health issues were reported.

Looking at a Monday screenshot of satellite images (clickable in the image box), the algal growth at Melones seems to be happening in a similar spot and there are a few pixels of it while at Camanche there is currently only one green pixel to note. Melones lake itself is looking noticeably green.

Regarding Camanche, Calaveras Environmental Management Interim Administrator Lisa Medina shares, “Environmental Health is ready to respond accordingly should the need to post appropriate signage be required.”

She adds her office will be working with County Public Health on community messaging so residents can make the best-informed decisions for themselves and their families and will be proactively reaching out to the waterbody managers, offering educational signage to post at their kiosks.

CA Freshwater Harmful Algal Blooms Program Lead Keith Bouma-Gregson, who monitors the satellite tool, indicated that since Camanche was showing just one pixel of algal concentrations that could be very early stages of bloom and something to keep an eye on. In the event there is an increase in pixels, there would be a need for follow up field investigations and sampling. He shared a link to healthy water habits that folks are advised to follow when there is potential for hazardous algal blooms. Click here to access it.