Climate change likely factor in early algae season on Utah waters, officials say

SALT LAKE CITY -- Cyanobacteria algae have been found in Scofield reservoir, prompting warnings for people and pets to stay out of the water in three areas: Madsen Bay, Frandsen Boy Scout Camp and the State Park Harbor, and that was before the weekend.

“There was a fish kill this past weekend, a large fish kill and some duck deaths,” said Jodi Gardberg, Environmental Program Manager for the Utah Division of Water Quality.

Gardberg said Scofield has had algal blooms in the past, and this summer presented perfect conditions for a bloom.

“Hot temperatures like we saw in July and August, stagnant water so it's not very windy, and nutrient rich water bodies,” Gardberg pointed out as key factors.

Gardberg said climate change is likely a factor in the earlier algae season, though it’s impossible to pin a particular event on climate change.

Normally, the season begins in late August and continues through October, but Utah Lake developed a dangerous and widespread bloom in July.