Tuesday October 17, 2023

Oregon Public Broadcasting

It’s still warm in the afternoon on the edge of the Columbia River as water laps against the shore.

A team of Environmental Protection Agency scientists are splashing around in wader suits. Some wear elbow-length gloves. They are studying something sinister — toxic algae. It lurks near the bottom of lakes, streams and even big rivers.

“Do you think we got everything?” asked Lil Herger, with the EPA.

“I have the pitcher. We’re going to blend up here though right?” responded EPA scientist Rochelle Labiosa.

Toxic blooms of blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) are developing in many American lakes, rivers and streams. The toxins can poison dogs and cattle — and sicken people. Now, the EPA is working to develop better tools and methods to sample hard-to-track toxins — and they’re starting their work on the Columbia River in Richland.

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