BREAKING: Lake Elsinore closed to recreational use due to detection of harmful algae

The City of Lake Elsinore was just notified by the Southern California Coastal Water Research Project (SCCWRP) that Lake Elsinore contains toxins that exceed recommended recreational health thresholds caused by cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae.


Blue-green algae is present in most freshwater and marine aquatic ecosystems. Excessive growth of blue-green algae can lead to algae blooms that can be harmful. The most recent samples of the lake showed high concentrations of cylindrospermopsin, anatoxin-a and microsystins, all of which can be considered dangerous at high levels and may cause harm to people, pets and livestock. Exposure to toxic algae can cause rashes, skin or eye irritation, allergic reactions or gastrointestinal problems, and can also be fatal to dogs.

Most recently, the lake suffered a severe algae bloom, which has likely caused the increase of concentrations of harmful toxins in the water. Algae blooms are common in Lake Elsinore and other natural water bodies around the country. As the algae dies off, toxins can be produced. Concerns regarding blue-green algae have been on the rise throughout the Country in recent years as evidenced by the recent closures of Pyramid Lake in Los Angeles County, Lake Temescal in Oakland, and Discovery Bay in the Delta.

The SCCWRP has been monitoring Lake Elsinore every other week due to the increasing concerns regarding Lake Elsinore due to the severe drought in Southern California and rapidly declining water levels.

As mentioned, public safety is our top priority. Therefore, the lake will remain closed until further notice. Additional sampling of the lake will take place on Monday and will continue weekly until the lake improves.

While it is extremely unfortunate that Lake Elsinore is in its current condition, there is little that can be done for Southern California’s largest natural freshwater lake. It is a natural lake that is reliant on rainfall. And, with little to no rainfall for the last five years, the lake is suffering. The City and the Elsinore Valley Municipal Water District currently add more than 5 million gallons of water a day to the lake. But, it is not enough to sustain the 4 and one-half feet of water lost each year to evaporation. Without the recycled water, the lake would likely be 12 to 14 feet lower than it is today. Currently, the lake’s water level has fallen to its lowest level since early 1993.

The City will keep the community and our stakeholders informed about additional information as it becomes available.

7 Responses to "BREAKING: Lake Elsinore closed to recreational use due to detection of harmful algae"

  1. longo   July 28, 2016 at 6:18 pm

    Oh my gosh,we were there less than a week ago and Lake employees said it was perfectly safe to swim and skiing in. They refused to give us our money back after getting close enough to be the Lake, we couldn’t get more than 10 feet to the lake with gagging from the smell!

  2. rod   July 29, 2016 at 7:47 am

    Not surprised, they dont take care of that lake good enuff anyways, that place is gross!!!!

  3. Kenneth Mayes   July 29, 2016 at 7:54 am

    “The common law Public Trust Doctrine protects sovereign lands, such as tide and submerged lands and the beds of navigable waterways, for the benefit, use and enjoyment of the public. These lands are held in trust by the State of California for the statewide public and for uses that further the purposes of the trust. The hallmark of the Public Trust Doctrine is that trust lands belong to the public and are to be used to promote publicly beneficial uses that connect the public to the water.”
    These words are found on the California State Lands Commission website @
    The question that begs to be asked is “Why is not the “Lake at Elsinore” formerly known as “Laguna Grande” when California became a state not under the control of the State of California per the Public Trust Doctrine. This control should be to the 1265 foot mark as would have been determined by the “Equal-Footing Doctrine”
    By allowing “local control”, i.e. the City of Lake Elsinore and EVMWD, this lake has been abused and allowed to deteriorate into a putrid mudhole.
    Instead of the man-engineered less than 3000 acres it is today it should be a pristine 6,000 acre recreational paradise open to all.

  4. Susan   July 29, 2016 at 3:49 pm

    We were there for6 days over 4th of July, no smell, had a great time. But, the bottom of our boat was covered with muscles. Already decided it would be a long time before we go back

  5. Kyle B   July 31, 2016 at 9:08 am

    I don’t think the lake has any employees..

  6. Jimmy Flores   July 31, 2016 at 9:24 pm

    Long term settlement of reclamation water is the cause of this new algae growth. The pilot program for the effect s of reclaim water on humans has failed, It only provided the fact that a lake is subject to more harmful circumstances when treated sewer waste water is added without fresh water coming in. This will never come forth to the public and the safety of our community must come forth. In my opinion, we must test this supply by a agency out of the scope of our local government boards. To much internal politicians. The closure of this lake is actually a good time to request a reservoir program. As more reclaim water enters, the harder it will become to build a reservoir .

  7. Shaun W.   October 17, 2016 at 9:31 am

    This city is a dump so why wouldn’t our best feature, our “green” lake, be any different? This town is run by a group of money hungry idiots who only care about their fat paychecks, not their year round citizens. And all of these so-called community leaders want us to re-elect them? No! Such a joke. Lake Elsinore is Meth Central. The amount of drugs in this town is unbelievable. Every other citizen here smokes weed illegally & the meth dealers & cooks are everywhere. Crime occurs in broad daylight, our homeless population in the foot hills & by the lake, is out of control, everywhere you look people are sitting in their cars too, mostly homeless, living out of their trunks. Every single apartment building near the Historic District & the lake has drug dealers living in them, & we have only 3-4 cops on duty at any given time to patrol the area around the lake. With so little money going into stopping the drug crime here, there is no doubt in my mind that our lake will end up closing forever due to poor city management. Thank God I’m selling my house & moving out of state. It’s none too soon to leave behind this green slime encrusted one horse town.


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