Toxic algae in Ocean Shores

Residents and animals are encouraged to avoid open ‘all bodies of freshwater in and around the City of Ocean Shores.’

A toxic algae bloom has been found in Duck Lake and the Grand Canal in Ocean Shores. The Grays Harbor County Environmental Health Division is warning people and pets to avoid the water.

A health advisory has been issued for “all bodies of freshwater in and around the City of Ocean Shores,” a release states.

“When you see algae, don’t swim, wade, paddleboard, or fish and keep your pets away from the water,” reads the release from division Director Jeff Nelson. “Keep in mind as wind direction changes, the algae could move elsewhere.”

Also referred to as blue-green algae or cyanobacteria, toxic algae can cause muscle weakness, vomiting, diarrhea and nausea in people.

If you or somebody you know has come into contact with the water and are experiencing symptoms, see a medical provider. Children especially are at risk.

Animals also are at risk and should be kept from the water.

“Pets are at great risk,” Nelson said. “They have small bodies and are more likely to ingest larger amounts of toxic algae. They may drink water with toxic algae and lick their fur.”

Symptoms in pets include lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, convulsions, difficulty breathing and weakness. If owners see these symptoms in pets potentially exposed to toxic algae, they are encouraged to take the animals to a veterinarian.

People also are recommended to avoid eating fish from these waters.

To avoid recurrences of toxic algae, residents are encouraged to reduce their use of fertilizer, properly maintain their septic system, and put pet waste into the trash.

Residents who have questions can contact the Grays Harbor County Environmental Health at 360-249-4222 or