Caution urged for dog owners and swimmers as toxic algae identified at Ruamāhanga river site

  • Published Date 12 Jan 2022
  • Author Emma Harrison

Swimmers are being advised to take caution while dog owners should keep dogs on leashes or avoid the Ruamāhanga river at Double Bridges as toxic algae, including detached algal mats, have been identified at the site.

The site is located near the Mel Parkinson Reserve, north of Masterton.

Greater Wellington Marine and Freshwater Team Leader, Dr Evan Harrison said “Toxic algae has increased to amber alert levels at the site meaning we strongly advise caution to swimmers and to check the LAWA website regularly for updates before getting in the water”.

The warning bears greater significance for dog owners as dogs like the smell and taste of the algae and a small piece, only around the size of a 50c coin, is enough to kill a dog.

“The risk is higher still with detached mats being found, meaning the algae has broken off rocks in the riverbed and can wash up on the river’s edge, within easy reach for dogs, said Dr Harrison.

With this warm weather set to continue over the next week, caution is advised for people and their pets until this warning has been removed from the LAWA website”

Greater Wellington is currently monitoring popular swimming spots around the region on a weekly basis to ensure the community knows when where it’s safe to swim.

Members of the public who think they or their dogs have been in contact with toxic algae should see your doctor or ring Healthline on 0800 611 116 and for their dogs, take it immediately to the nearest vet.

Updated January 12, 2022 at 7:03 AM

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