Toxic algae bloom shuts down 2 East Bay lakes, leads to caution advisories at several others

People planning to visit some East Bay lakes amid soaring temperatures this Fourth of July weekend, were being warned of a dangerous level of toxic blue-green algae.

The East Bay Regional Parks District has posted advisories at several of its lakes, including Del Valle Regional Park in Livermore and Lake Chabot in Castro Valley.

The algae has closed down two bodies of water to all water activity, with parks officials posting "danger" advisories at Lake Temescal in Oakland and Quarry Lakes Regional Recreation Area in Fremont. That means no swimming, no boating, no fishing.

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Toxic algae can form under any conditions, but they flourish and bloom in the heat, and especially in shallow bodies of stagnant water, according to experts.

"Due to the drought and unusually warm weather conditions, toxic blooms of cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) and other water-quality issues are occurring more frequently in the East Bay Regional Park District and elsewhere," the park district said on its website, noting that the agency regularly monitored its lakes and shorelines. 

Park officials advised people stay away from the algae and make sure to prevent pets from drink any water infected with algae. And if those who have caught fish in these waters, officials suggested throwing away its guts and cleaning the filets with tap water before cooking the fish. 

Exposure to the toxins that can lead to headaches, skin irritation, even vomiting and diarrhea. You may be able to be aware of its presence because it usually has a terrible smell to it. If you think you've been affected by blue-green algae, experts advised seeking medical attention.