Colorado Outdoors Podcast: Episode 18 – Explaining Algae & E. Coli in our Lakes and Reservoirs

In this episode of Colorado Outdoors we explain how we test for and respond to algae blooms and the presence of E. coli in our water system.

Summer is the time of year when many folks are enjoying spending time on the water, but it is also the time of year when algae blooms or E. Coli can cause closures of popular areas like swim beaches. Colorado Parks and Wildlife explains them both in its latest podcast episode of Colorado Outdoors.

This summer there have been closures in areas at Barr Lake, Chatfield and Cherry Creek state parks, and at DeWeese Reservoir State Wildlife Area. These are just temporary closures at state-managed facilities. You hear of other similar headlines in the news at city or county managed properties, too. 

This can get confusing to the public on what they need to know or where they should turn to look for information, or who manages it all. This podcast episode is designed to help inform the public on the process.

Mindi May is Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s Water Quality Coordinator and Scott Roush is the Deputy Regional Manager for the Northeast Region – they both share their knowledge on water quality and keeping people (and your dogs) safe while recreating on the water.

Photo of a blue-green algae bloom
Photo of a blue-green algae bloom

Podcast Topic List

  • 1:50 – background on E. coli and algae in our water system
  • 4:15 – Human activities that can escalate the presence of E. coli and blue-green algae
  • 5:40 – What is CPW responsible for monitoring when it comes to toxic algae blooms
  • 7:10 – What causes an algae bloom
  • 7:55 – What signs should people be looking for on the water
  • 8:50 – Are there lakes and reservoirs more susceptible to toxic algae blooms
  • 9:20 – Process of testing for E. coli and toxic algae blooms
  • 10:15 – Are these becoming more prevalent in Colorado
  • 11:05 – What can people do to help
  • 12:00 – People shouldn’t be afraid to recreate in our waters, just watch for signs
  • 12:45 – Roles of the various agencies involved in inspecting and testing
  • 13:30 – What is CPW’s response when you get a positive test & where do we test
  • 15:10 – Steps towards reopening after a closure of an area due to E. coli or blue-green algae
  • 16:15 – Discussing Dog Off Leash Areas and keeping your dogs safe
  • 17:40 – What do people need to keep in mind when going out to recreate on the water
  • 18:45 – If a swim beach closes, can you still boat, fish, etc. on the reservoir?
  • 19:40 – Best way for people to find out about closures

Explaining Blue-green Algae

Video: Explaining Blu-green Algae

Podcast hosted by Mark Johnson. Colorado Parks and Wildlife is a nationally recognized leader in conservation, outdoor recreation and wildlife management. The agency manages 42​ state parks, all of Colorado’s 960-plus wildlife species, more than 350 state wildlife areas and a host of recreational programs from hunting and fishing to the state’s trails program, boat registrations, snowmobiles, off-highway vehicles and more. All of its management is in perpetuity for the enjoyment of Coloradans and its visitors and this podcast is dedicated to telling the stories and happenings in Colorado’s great outdoors.

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