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Algae toxin found where dogs died at Elk Creek.

Byline: Greg Bolt The Register-Guard

ELKTON - State health officials on Friday said they have found evidence of toxic algae algae (ăl`jē) [plural of Lat. alga=seaweed], a large and diverse group of primarily aquatic plantlike organisms. These organisms were previously classified as a primitive subkingdom of the plant kingdom, the thallophytes (plants that  at the site along Elk Creek Elk Creek may refer to the following:

California:
  • Elk Creek (California), a watercourse in Colusa County
Kansas:
  • Elk Creek Township, Kansas
Missouri:
  • Elk Creek Township, Missouri
Nebraska:
  • Elk Creek, Nebraska
 where several dogs recently became ill and died.

Test results don't show that the algae killed the dogs. Further tests on tissue samples sent to labs in Michigan and California must be completed before officials will know if algae is the culprit in those deaths, the state said.

But water samples taken along the creek in Douglas County Douglas County is the name of twelve counties in the United States:
  • Douglas County, Colorado (Located in the Denver-Aurora Metropolitan Area)
  • Douglas County, Georgia (Located in the Atlanta Metropolitan Area)
  • Douglas County, Illinois
  • Douglas County, Kansas
 from its confluence confluence /con·flu·ence/ (kon´floo-ins)
1. a running together; a meeting of streams.con´fluent

2. in embryology, the flowing of cells, a component process of gastrulation.
 with the Umpqua River The Umpqua River (UHMP-kwah) is a river on the Pacific coast of Oregon in the United States, approximately 111 mi (179 km) long. One of the prinicipal rivers of the Oregon coast, it drains an expansive network of valleys in the mountains west of the Cascade Range and south of the  to Sawyers Rapids upstream showed the presence of the algae toxin toxin, poison produced by living organisms. Toxins are classified as either exotoxins or endotoxins. Exotoxins are a diverse group of soluble proteins released into the surrounding tissue by living bacterial cells. , said Laura Boswell, a spokeswoman for the public health division of the state Department of Human Services.

The highest levels of the toxins were found in stagnant stagnant /stag·nant/ (stag´nant)
1. motionless; not flowing or moving.

2. inactive; not developing or progressing.
 pools next to Elk Creek near the Umpqua River.

Boswell said the algae bloom itself has died off, but toxins from the microscopic organisms remain in the water.

The water samples were taken after the dogs died, and she said it's not known how much toxin might have been present at the time the dogs became ill.

But the amount that remained still exceeded public health standards, prompting the department to advise people to avoid coming in contact with the water in that stretch of Elk Creek.

Tests that could confirm whether the toxin is what killed four dogs over a 10-day span should be complete next week, Boswell said.

But not everyone is convinced the algae toxin is to blame. Brook Fahy of Predator Defense said the dogs' deaths could have been caused by a poison bait sometimes used by land owners trying to kill coyotes.

"It has all the classic earmarks of deliberate poisoning with baits," Fahy said.

Boswell said the state Department of Agriculture was consulted about the possibility of poison bait, but officials there discounted the idea. But Fahy said he's not convinced.

The issue will remain unresolved until the additional tests are complete.
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Title Annotation:City/Region
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Sep 5, 2009
Words:326
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