Erie, Pennsylvania (WJET/WFXP/YourErie.com) — A total of 16 Erie County area beaches have been deemed hazardous to dogs due to harmful algal blooms.
The Erie County website notes that “harmful algal blooms” are a misnomer — it is not algae, but rather a bacteria that acts like algae. It can be seen on the surface of the water in colors like blue, green, white, brown or red. The algal blooms produce toxins.
There are three separate thresholds for HAB toxin levels — a dog safety threshold, a human advisory threshold, and a human restriction advisory.
Dogs have specific warnings because their threshold is lower than people. They ingest water when they swim, and they lick their fur when they get out of the water making them more susceptible to higher doses of the harmful bacteria.
Weekly testing is performed by the Regional Science Consortium and reported to the county health department.
The Erie County Department of Health beach water testing results map is available online. It currently lists 16 beaches/areas in Erie County that have HAB toxin levels that are hazardous to dogs.
Presque Isle State Park warnings include Vista 3, Sturgeon Bay, Niagara Boat Launch, Ferry Slip, Marina, Mill Road Beach (Zone 3), Perry Monument, and Beach 11 (Zone 5).
Other sites on Lake Erie with warnings include Erie Yacht Club, Liberty Park, Dobbins Landing, South Pier, Lake Cliff (Lawrence Park) Boat Launch, and Shades Beach.
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Two other Erie County warnings are for Smith Reservoir and Eaton Reservoir.