N.B. dog owners on alert after algae pre-bloom discovered
HALIFAX -- Warm and dry weather in the Maritimes has signalled the return of a problem from summer 2019 – blue-green algae. Recent testing has revealed a pre-bloom of the bacteria in a Moncton park, which officials say is a direct result of rising temperatures. With previous fatal encounters involving dogs and algae, New Brunswick dog owners are being asked to keep their pets close.
Dog owner, Paul Maltais frequently walks his dogs at Irishtown Nature Park, but he's keeping a closer eye on where they wander after seeing notices warning of blue-green algae pre-blooms in the park's lake.
"I think it's probably a good idea to keep the dogs out of there," says Maltais. "Especially as we've got older dogs, and we kinda worry about them being immune-compromised – that's on everybody's mind these days."
All recreational activities are currently prohibited at the park.
The city notes the lake at Irishtown Nature Park is the only body of water where pre-bloom has tested positive in Moncton. The pre-bloom is largely attributed to the recent spike in heat in the Greater Moncton area.
"When the water temperature rises, then certainly, it's a possibility that we could see some blue-green algae," says City of Moncton director of communications, Isabelle LeBlanc.
And while the appearance of blue-green algae – also called cyanobacteria – is a seemingly annual phenomenon in the province's lakes, residents say June is a bit early for its arrival.
"Typically, it's usually an August-July thing," says Maltais. "So, this is a little bit early for the bloom."
On June 24, the Town of Riverview implemented a ban on non-essential water consumption after consumption levels skyrocketed to nearly double the daily amount. One of the factors contributing to excessive water usage is what the town called "an extremely hot June." In a statement from the Town of Riverview, it said the ban has since been lifted as normal water consumption, and water pressure levels have started to return.
Meanwhile, dog walkers continue to ensure their pets keep cool – away from the water.
"Sometimes the dog likes the water, and if we walk with them, they want to go in the water," says dog walker, Edmee Gauvin. "We don't want to let them in there."