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Public Health News

Posted on: April 21, 2023

Anderson Lake Closed Due to Toxin

Press Releases (2)

For Immediate Release 

Contact: Michael Dawson

Water Quality Manager

Jefferson County Public Health

(360) 385-9444           

Port Townsend, WA  Elevated levels of the potent nerve toxin anatoxin-a were detected in a water sample taken from Anderson Lake on Monday, April 17th. The toxin level is 1.28 micrograms per liter, which is above the Washington State recreational criteria. The bloom of cyanobacteria in the lake contains toxin-producing species of algae. Anatoxin-a can result in illness and death in people and animals when ingested. Washington State Parks has posted “Danger – Keep Out of Lake” signs at access points to the park alerting visitors of the potential hazards. Recreational activities such as fishing, boating, and swimming are prohibited until the toxins dissipate and the lake is deemed safe for recreation. Anderson Lake State Park remains open for other recreational activities such as horseback riding, hiking, biking and birdwatching.  

Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) has monitored local lakes for cyanobacteria since 2007 and Anderson Lake has had closures every year since then, including very high levels of toxin. Over this period of time, 3 dogs have been confirmed to have died due to exposure to Anderson Lake water. Anderson Lake was monitored for toxins this winter, and toxins were not detected, but starting in April, bloom activity and toxin level have been steadily rising. In addition to Anderson Lake, Leland, Gibbs, Tarboo and Crocker lakes have all been assessed for cyanobacteria activity this year and no evidence of blooms forming has been seen this season.

To check the status of Jefferson County Lakes and learn more about toxic cyanobacteria monitoring, consult the JCPH website at or call (360) 385-9444. For fishing seasons and regulations, see the WDFW website Information on visiting Anderson Lake State Park is available at To check other lakes in Washington State, see


Jefferson County Public Health
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