Oregon Fines Forest Service Over Escaped Algae

Joe Schoffstall
By Joe Schoffstall | April 11, 2013 | 5:00 PM EDT

The U.S. Forest Service in Oregon has been slammed with a $8,800 fine by the state for allowing a mat of algae to float out of its reservoir and into a creek.

The algae mat in question escaped from a reservoir at the J Herbert Stone Nursery and into Jackson Creek in Central Point, Oregon last year. The State Department of Environmental Quality issued the fine after they traced a gleaming sheet of algae in Jackson Creek.

"Just releasing an algal mat reduces water quality," Bill Meyers, the DEQ's water-quality specialist in the Rogue River Basin, told the Mail Tribune.

It was initially suspected that the algae strain released was potentially toxic - this was not the case. The greatest concerns regarding the algae are that it could potential t reduce the oxygen supply for fish, stain rock stain, and reduce water quality.

"I don't think we have that many instances where we have a point source that discharges algae," said Jeff Bachman, a DEQ environmental law specialist in Portland.

No traces of algae were found further upstream after tests were conducted. The U.S. Forest service is currently appealing the fine.

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