Toxic algae warnings issued

Four warnings have been issued for toxic algae in Southland waterways.

Environment Southland said in a release yesterday after monitoring high levels of potentially toxic algae had been found in the Mataura River near the Riversdale Bridge and in the Ōreti River at Branxholme.

These alerts are in addition to warnings already in place for the Mataura River at Gore and the Waituna Lagoon. The alert for the Mataura River downstream of the Mataura Bridge has been removed.

Water users should be vigilant and avoid contact with the algae. Similar growth may be occurring in other rivers and tributaries around the region.

Swimming at these locations should also be avoided.

Algae naturally occur in waterways and can flourish during fine conditions and stable river flows. Most algae are harmless. However, some species can produce toxins and rapidly bloom to high levels. These algae are potentially toxic, and commonly identified in waterways as a dark green/brown slime on rocks, or dark brown/black mats at the water’s edge.