People living along Moncton’s Jones Lake are being told to keep a close eye on the water and on their pets.
A recent water test has shown that high nutrient levels and increased water temperatures may have caused a fish kill in the lake last month.
According to Universite de Moncton biology professor Alyre Chiasson, those same conditions could lend to the growth of an algae that can be deadly for dogs.
“I wouldn’t take the risk, I simply would not let my animal go in,” said Chiasson.
The New Brunswick Department of Environment spokesperson, Anne Mooers said in an email statement to Global News, that the water samples taken after the fish kill showed higher than normal nutrient levels and warmer water temperatures that may have killed the fish.
“Nutrients, in particular nitrogen and phosphorus, were found to be high.” she said. “This along with warm water temperatures that occurred prior to June 17 may have contributed to the fish kill at Jones Lake.”
Chiasson said the same nutrients feed a potentially deadly algae bloom for pets, which killed three dogs near Fredericton last year.
“High levels of phosphorus and nitrogen are the requirements in particular with elevated temperatures for good growth of algae including Cyanobacteria,” he said.
While there was no visible sign of green in the lake water on Wednesday, Chiasson said “If it’s green and has a shade of green don’t go in”.
According to the department of environment, the water samples show that nitrogen levels in the lake are about twice what is normal, with phosphorus levels about 11 times higher.
Mooers said “It could come from a number of sources such as storm water or lawn fertilizer.”
City of Moncton, Isabelle Leblanc said in an email that the city hasn’t used fertilizers around the lake for decades, and it has asked provincial environment officials for more clarification on the meaning of the water test results.
Until then she said the lake will remain closed to recreational use.
Chiasson approves of the city’s decision since warm weather is in the forecast for later this week.
“Blue-green algae do best under elevated temperature lots of sunlight and warm weather conditions.”
He said dogs who ingest its toxin can die before there is time to get them to a vet.