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Water Quality Program

In 2001, Environmental Department, the Karuk Tribe and the United States Fish & Wildlife Service began water quality sampling throughout the Klamath River.

Today, Environmental Department has an extensive program that collects and stores data for over 15 different components. This data will help the Tribe to efficiently and accurately monitor conditions on the Klamath River

Community & Ecosystems

Pollution Prevention

Blue Green Algae will turn clean clear water green, thick and soupy.

Some Blue Green Algae, like Microcystin, can make you ill.


Blue Green Algae (also called Cyanobacteria) are simple plants that normally live in nutrient rich, warm and slow moving bodies of water. Abundant sunlight in the summer and fall contribute to algae blooms, that cover a large area. Iron Gate and Copco reservoirs often experience large blooms of Blue Green Algae in the summer and fall. Water traveling downstream from the dams contains Blue Green Algae and can pose a risk to public health.

Blue Green Algae: What You Need To Know:

Not All Algae Are Bad

Mycrocystis aeruginosa is the most common type of Blue Green Algae in the Klamath Basin that produce toxins, known as microcystins. It is these toxins that can cause illnesses. Microcystins are the toxins that we are most concerned with. The Environmental Department  regularly monitors for presence of toxic Blue Green Algae and microcystins in the river during the summer and fall, when large blooms are most likely to occur. If they are present in large numbers, then a warning is issued. Unless a warning is issued it is safe to use the river.

What Should I Do During Blooms?

Limit Activities During Blooms:


  • Don’t wade or swim in water containing visible blooms or water containing algal material.

  • Don’t drink the water. Untreated open surface water can contain harmful bacteria, parasites as well a algae toxins.

  • Carefully watch children and pets to limit exposure and avoid accidental ingestion of water.

  • When gathering on or near the river, avoid gathering in areas where algae has been blooming.

  • Fish may be consumed after removing guts and liver. Rinse fillets in tap water, not river water.

  • Do not drink or cook with river water. Boiling the water will not remove the toxins.



Question: Why do we worry about the Blue Green algae in the river?

Answer: Because some Blue Green algae can release toxins that can cause illnesses. Symptoms include:

  1. Skin Rash and Irritated Eyes

  2. Stomach Cramps

  3. Vomiting

  4. Diarrhea

  5. Fever

I've Been Exposed! Now What?

I've Been Exposed! Now What?

Contact your physician immediately! This is important. They will be able to tell you as what to do next. If you pet has been exposed, call or visit your veterinarian.


Additional Information:

California Department of Health

Humboldt County Health Department: (707) 445-6215 or 1-800-963-9241

Yurok Tribe Environmental Program: (707)482-1822 or (707)482-1350

United Indian Health Service: (707)825-5010

Oregon Department of Human Services

World Health Organization




Water Quality


Yurok Tribe Water Quality Permitting





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