Harmful Algae Blooms Have Turned Lassen’s Willow Lake ‘Pea Soup’ Green

Willow Lake has turned green due to the toxic algae blooms. Photo by Craig Hemping, Lassen National Forest.

Located between Chester, California and Lassen Volcanic National Park in the Lassen National Forest is Willow Lake, which has looked a little different lately. When officials noticed the lake turned “pea soup” green, they conducted algae tests and their worst fears were confirmed.

The testing at Willow Lake showed that harmful algae blooms had taken over the lake, making it dangerous for anyone thinking about entering the water. Not only should people avoid the water, but also keep their pets from it, as dogs have been known to die from this type of algae.

Harmful algae blooms have become a problem in some Northern California lakes. Chico’s Horseshoe Lake recently was found to have similar algae blooms and officials were forced to post signs to keep people and their dogs out of the water.

But even with tests showing the algae, Horseshoe Lake didn’t turn into the color seen in Willow Lake. Because of the unusual assemblage of plants that occur at Willow Lake, it was designated a Botanical Special Interest Area in the Lassen National Forest’s Land and Resources Management Plan. And although it’s beautiful, visitors will have to take a “look don’t touch” approach for the time being.

Active NorCal

Telling the Stories of Northern California

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