Toxins close Gibbs Lake; Anderson still shuttered

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PORT TOWNSEND — Two lakes now are closed to recreational use in East Jefferson County.

Gibbs Lake, south of Port Townsend, was closed July 18 after high levels of microcystin were discovered in the monthly test of a water sample, said Greg Thomason, Jefferson County environmental health specialist.

Anderson Lake has been closed since May 17, when State Parks shut it down only three weeks after it was opened for the fishing season April 27 because of high levels of anatoxin-a.

The 410-acre Anderson Lake State Park around the lake, which is between Port Townsend and Chimacum, remains open for hiking, biking and horseback riding.

Two toxins

Both microcystin and anatoxin-a are toxins produced by blue-green algae, also known as cyanobacteria, which occurs naturally but which can begin, for unknown reasons, to produce toxins.

Anatoxin-a is a quick-acting poison that can lead to death in people and animals within four minutes if ingested in high doses.

Microcystin can cause skin irritation, nausea and muscle weakness if touched and liver damage if swallowed over a long period of time.

Results of samples found 6.7 micrograms per liter of anatoxin-a in Anderson Lake, a reduction from last month, when more than 38 micrograms per liter were discovered in lake samples.

However, the level remains higher than the state recreational guideline of 1 microgram per liter of anatoxin-a.

The level of microcystin in Gibbs Lake was 6.9 micrograms per liter. The safety threshold for microcystin is 6 micrograms per liter.

Both Anderson and Gibbs lakes have heavy algae blooms with scum, the public health department said.

A caution sign is in place at Lake Leland, north of Quilcene, because of a light bloom. The amount of toxins is barely detectable, and the lake is safe for use, Thomason said.

Next sampling

The next sampling of water in the three lakes will be Aug. 12, Thomason said.

Sampling this year is being done once a month because of state funding cutbacks, he said.

Other East Jefferson County lakes — such as Crocker, Tarboo, Silent and Sandy Shore — have not been tested this year.

“If you see a bloom out there, don’t go in,” Thomason said.

To park within Anderson Lake State Park, visitors need a Discover Pass — either $10 for a day or $30 for a year.

Discover Pass

Passes can be bought at any state park where hunting or fishing licenses are sold by phoning 866-320-9933 or visiting

Toxin-producing blue-green algae has not been spotted in Clallam County.

Report algae blooms in Clallam County by phoning 360-417-2258, while Jefferson County blooms can be reported at 360-385-9444.

For more information about Jefferson County lakes, visit or phone the office.

Last modified: July 27. 2013 5:32PM
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