SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – The Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR) is warning Utahns of harmful algal blooms in 17 waterbodies across Utah. 

As of Tuesday, Oct. 4, the DWR said there are 16 waterbodies currently under warning advisories and one is under a danger advisory. Under a warning advisory, fishing is approved, however, hunters or those looking to simply enjoy the water should not swim and take precautions when boating. Under the danger advisory, precautions should be taken when fishing, and water visitors shouldn’t boat or swim. 

Hunters and water visitors should particularly keep precautions with their dogs around bodies of water with harmful algal blooms. 

“The toxins have proved to be fatal in pets,” the DWR said in a statement. “Dogs can be exposed to toxins by skin contact with water that is contaminated with cyanobacteria or toxins, by swallowing water, or by licking the water off their fur or hair.”

The DWR advises seeking immediate care from a veterinarian if you suspect your pet has been exposed to a harmful algal bloom. DWR warns that even with proper veterinary care, exposures are fatal and prevention is the best way to protect pets.

Blooms form in water waterbodies when naturally occurring cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae, multiply to high densities and form visible water discoloration, scum, and mats. Harmful algal bloom can look like pea soup, spilled paint, grass clippings, or water that has a green or blue-green hue.

According to the DWR, Cyanobacteria can produce several kinds of toxins that can affect liver, nerve, and skin tissue. If there is a suspicion of harmful algal bloom in the water, the DWR advises to stay out of the water and avoid any contact with water or scum. Hunters should also clean any waterfowl or fish well with fresh water and to discard all guts.

For the full list of waterbodies with warnings, visit the Department of Wildlife Resources by clicking here.