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Esther Simplot pond closes due to toxic blue-green algae, shutting down recreation

Esther Simplot Park Pond 1 is closed because of an outbreak of blue green algae.  It is the larger of the water park’s two ponds and 
 it includes the children’s beach area.
Esther Simplot Park Pond 1 is closed because of an outbreak of blue green algae. It is the larger of the water park’s two ponds and it includes the children’s beach area. Idaho Statesman file photo

One pond at Esther Simplot Park was closed by the city of Boise due to the discovery of cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae.

The type of algae found Thursday may produce toxins under the right conditions. All recreation in the pond is prohibited until further notice.

Pond No. 1, which is closed, is the larger of the two ponds at Esther Simplot Park, and it includes the children’s beach area. Boise Parks and Recreation leaders made the call to close the pond out of an abundance of caution.

The health and safety of Boise residents is always a top priority, so the pond will remain closed to ensure visitor safety until testing is completed, according to the city. Signs have been posted at the pond to notify residents of the closure.

Measures are being taken to eliminate a potentially harmful bloom. Staff members from the Boise’s Public Works Department are working with the Department of Environmental Quality to test and treat the water in the pond.

The city monitors water quality at Esther Simplot Pond and Quinn’s Pond to protect public health. City staff will continue to update the public on the situation as it develops, it said in a news release.

Blue-green algae is not uncommon in local ponds during the summer heat and can be harmful to people and pets. The Boise Parks and Recreation Department asks that visitors continue to obey all posted signs and park rules at Esther Simplot Park and nearby Quinn’s Pond.

As a reminder, dogs are no longer allowed at Quinn’s Pond or Esther Simplot Park, including both ponds the previously designated dog off-leash area.

At this time, Esther Simplot Park Pond No. 2 and Quinn’s Pond remain open for recreational use, the city reported late Thursday.

On Wednesday, water recreation at Eagle Island State Park was also closed due to blue-green algae.

Ruth Brown: 208-377-6207, @RuthBrownNews
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