Toxic algae alert for the Aparima River
14 Feb 2023
Environment Southland’s latest monitoring has found elevated levels of potentially toxic algae in the Aparima River at Thornbury.
Algae naturally occur in waterways and can flourish during hot and fine conditions. Most algae are harmless. However, some species can produce toxins and rapidly bloom to harmful levels. Toxic algae is commonly identified in waterways as a dark green/brown slime on rocks, or dark brown/black mats at the water’s edge.
Environment Southland senior scientist Katie Blakemore said all river users should remain alert for algal growth or mats of algae floating in the water and avoid contact.
Current warm weather conditions and low flows in rivers and streams makes toxic algae more likely than usual. Our monitoring cannot cover all places and times and people are advised to become familiar with what to look for.
These algae can produce toxins that are harmful to people and animals if swallowed, or through contact with skin. People and animals (it can be deadly to dogs, in particular) should avoid contact with the river and be mindful of the potential health risks, until health warnings are removed.
If you experience health symptoms after contact with contaminated water, visit a doctor immediately. If you are concerned that any animals have consumed toxic algae or contaminated water, they should be taken to a vet immediately.
Environment Southland regularly monitors toxic algae at a number of river and lake sites across Southland.
For further information visit Environment Southland’s website www.es.govt.nz/toxic-algae.
For more comments, please contact Environment Southland communications team on 0800 76 88 45