A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Seeing red: Take a look at W. Thornton Lake

Written March 18th, 2023 by Hasso Hering

West Thornton Lake looked like this on the evening of Friday, March 17, 2023.

Glancing left while crossing the bridge on North Albany Road, it was hard to miss the unusual appearance of a large part of West Thornton Lake on Friday night.

So I turned around, parked the truck and walked back to the bridge for a better look.

I’m no expert, but it looked like a massive algae bloom. If this had been on the coast, we might call it a red tide.

There is a lot of stuff about algae blooms on the internet. One site, from the California Water Resources Control Board, says there are nontoxic algae that are not harmful and can sometimes look red.

The board warns that cyanoalgae growths, which are harmful because they produce toxins, are usually blue-green but can also look red.

That advice is not all that helpful. But here’s a link to the site.

Long story short: Whether this is a harmful algae growth or not, I have no idea. But until it clears up, residents along this private lake may want to keep dogs from going near the water. (hh)

10 responses to “Seeing red: Take a look at W. Thornton Lake”

  1. Cap B. says:

    We can’t stick our heads in the sand and get away from global warming.
    Warming intensifies happenings such as algae blooms in bodies of water. Also, on the East Coast, they are having this non-toxic seaweed come over from Africa. I may not have my details completely straight, but it is affecting the beaches in Florida a lot and they say it is going to affect more of the Atlantic seaboard.

  2. Bill Maddy says:

    I have had this same problem in my lake the last two years. Right now it has cleared out with the latest rain showers. It think it is Duckweed, its flower is pink.

  3. TLH-ALB1 says:

    So does fertilizers from lawns and farm fields. But, then again that has nothing to do with “climate” agenda.

  4. Delfina Herrera Hoxie says:

    This is the worse I have seen in 20 years of living in No. Albany. Two days ago we saw a young boy fishing from the bridge! I think this is of concern to all.

  5. Hartman says:

    Is CARA involved in this Red Tide situation?

  6. Samuel Chan says:

    This plant looks like the mosquito water fern , Azolla species. Its blooms can indicate the waters have an excess of nutrients . The plant can be harvested, composted..Some animals and waterfowl consume it. Not known to be poisonous, can produce oxygen poor conditions and rotting odors if it it dies in mass.

  7. Marci says:

    Could that be why there isn’t turtles anymore? Been here 6yrs only one year did we see turtles – I live on Thornton lake drive

  8. MarK says:

    It’s all another example of the city using the “hands off” method of maintaining things. Just like our roads. NONE of our local lakes are being maintained.

  9. Farmer says:

    It is duckweed.

  10. Carol Lysek says:

    Mr. Chan is correct. That is Azolla aka water fern. You can look it up on U-tube. It can help control algae. It is a very interesting and useful plant. Koi will eat it. It can be used as a garden fertilizer. It is grown in rice paddies as a green fertilizer or used as animal feed. It is being studied as a biofuel.


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