Panguitch Lake Algal Bloom Monitoring 2018

Danger Advisory

  • Waterbody closed
  • Keep out of the water

Report a Bloom

24-Hour DEQ Environment Incidents Line: (801) 536-4123

Call Utah Poison Control Center

If you believe you or your pet have been exposed to a harmful algal bloom, call (800) 222-1222.


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Help us track cyanobacteria blooms with your smartphone. Go to cyanos.org for more info.

Panguitch Lake is located approximately 18 miles southwest of the city of Panguitch and sits at an elevation of 8,812 feet in the Dixie National Forest. The lake is a popular camping and water recreation destination.

Update October 13, 2018

The Division of Water Quality (DWQ) received cyanobacteria cell-count concentration results today for samples collected on the northeast shore of Panguitch Lake on October 1, 2018. Cyanobacteria cell-count densities of 40,681,140 cells per milliliter (cells/ml) exceeded the recreation health-based threshold for a Danger Advisory.

The Danger Advisory for Panguitch Lake remains in effect.


Update October 12, 2018

Panguitch Lake near outflow, October 3, 2018.

The Division of Water Quality (DWQ) recently received lab results for samples collected on or near Panguitch Lake on September 24, 2018, and October 1, 2018.

The Utah Public Health Lab performed 10,000x dilution on samples collected on the northeast shore of Panguitch Lake on October 1, 2018. Microcystin levels were 27,000 ug/L, more than 13.5 times higher than the recreation health-based threshold for a Danger Advisory. Anatoxin-a was present at 0.33 ug/L.

Panguitch Lake continues to have high cyanobacteria cell-count concentrations. Samples collected on September 24, 2018, at the northeast shore of the lake showed cell counts just under 7 million cells per milliliter (cells/ml), which exceeds the recreation health-based threshold for a Warning Advisory. Cell counts at the White Bridge campground were elevated but below the 20,000 cells/ml threshold for a Warning Advisory.

  • White Bridge Campground: 16,223 cells/ml
  • Panguitch Lake northeast shore: 6,879,782 cells/ml

The Danger Advisory for Panguitch Lake remains in place.


Update October 9, 2018

The Division of Water Quality (DWQ) visited Panguitch Lake on October 1, 2018, and collected surface samples at the northern end of the lake where the crew observed an accumulation of cyanobacteria. The bloom appeared to less abundant compared with the previous week. No samples were taken downstream because the outlet flow from Panguitch Lake was not discharging. HABs danger signs were posted at three locations: the south boat ramp, the north boat ramp, and the eastern shore.

Utah Department of Agriculture and Food (UDAF) lab toxin test results showed anatoxin-a levels of 0.30 micrograms per liter (µg/L) and microcystin levels of >5,000 µg/L (5,000x dilution). Further dilutions by the lab will be necessary to quantify microcystin concentrations, and preliminary values could go even higher after these dilutions.

The Danger Advisory for Panguitch Lake remains in place.


Update October 1, 2018

Panguitch Lake Near Outlet September 24, 2018

The Division of Water Quality (DWQ) visited Panguitch Lake and Panguitch Creek on September 24, 2018, and collected samples on the northeast shore of the lake and the White Bridge campground.

Toxin test results from the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food (UDAF) lab were non-detect for anatoxin-a at both locations, but microcystin levels were quite high, particularly at Panguitch Lake, which showed microcystin levels of >25,000 micrograms per liter (µg/L) after 5,000x dilution. These levels are 12.5 times higher than the recreation health-based threshold for a Danger Advisory. Microcystin levels of 35.5 µg/L in Panguitch Creek after 25x dilution exceed the recreation health-based threshold for a Warning Advisory.

The UDAF lab will perform additional dilutions on the Panguitch Lake sample to quantify microcystin concentrations. Levels could go higher after further dilutions.

Evidence of cyanobacteria was observed at all four monitoring sites. The cyanobacteria accumulation was thickest along the northern shore near the outlet and looked like green paint within and on the surface of the water. DWQ collected surface samples at this location. Cyanobacteria was also observed in the water near the northern boat ramp. Monitoring crews collected elbow-depth integrated composite samples downstream from Panguitch Lake at White Bridge Campground due to accumulation at the outlet of the lake. Cyanobacteria was also observed in the water column in the stream at White Bridge Campground.

DWQ monitoring crews are collecting additional samples today, October 1, 2018.

The Danger/Closure Advisory for Panguitch Lake remains in place.

Toxin Test Results

Lab results from the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food (UDAF) lab

  • Panguitch Lake northeast shore: anatoxin-a of <0.10 µg/L; microcystin of >25,000 µg/L (5000x dilution)
  • Panguitch Creek (White Bridge campground): anatoxin-a of <0.10 µg/L; microcystin of 35.5 µg/L (25x dilution)

Update September 27, 2018

The Division of Water Quality (DWQ) received cyanobacteria cell-counts for a sample taken on Panguitch Lake on September 12, 2018. The lab tests found cyanobacteria cell-count densities of 2,708,853 cells per milliliter (cells/ml). While these cell-count concentrations fall within the threshold for a Warning Advisory, Panguitch Lake remains under a Danger Advisory/Closure due to extremely high toxin levels.


Update September 24, 2018

Panquitch Lake Northeast Shore, September 13, 2018

The Southwestern Utah Health Department has issued a Danger Advisory/Closure for Panguitch Lake based on extremely high toxin levels in the lake from an ongoing cyanobacteria bloom. Closure signs will be posted today.

Toxin test results from the Utah Public Health Lab (UPHL) for samples collected on September 12, 2018, show microcystin levels after 5000x dilution that were 18.5 times higher than the recreation health-based threshold for a Danger Advisory. Further dilutions by the lab will be necessary to quantify microcystin concentrations, and these levels could go even higher after these dilutions.

The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food (UDAF) contacted livestock operators in the area and recommended they prevent their cattle from drinking water from the reservoir and downstream sources. UDAF advises producers to find alternative water sources until conditions improve.

The Division of Water Quality (DWQ) and UDAF are visiting Panguitch Lake today, September 24, 2018, to collect further samples.


Update September 21, 2018

Northeast shore, September 13, 2018

The Division of Water Quality (DWQ) visited Panguitch Lake on September 12, 2018, and observed cyanobacteria blooms at all three monitoring sites on the lake. DWQ collected samples at the northern end of the lake where the cyanobacteria accumulation was the greatest. This location is also where Panguitch Lake exits into Panguitch Creek.

Toxin test results from the Utah Public Health Lab (UPHL) for samples collected on September 12, 2018, show microcystin levels after 5000x dilution that were 18.5 times higher than the recreation health-based threshold for a Danger Advisory. Further dilutions by the lab will be necessary to quantify microcystin concentrations, and these levels could go even higher after these dilutions.

DWQ collected samples from Panguitch Creek at the White Bridge Campground below Panguitch Lake on September 18, 2018. Toxin test results were non-detect for anatoxin and >5 µg/L for microcystins. Further dilutions by the lab will be necessary to quantify microcystin concentrations, and the preliminary values could go even higher after these dilutions.

Toxin Test Results

Panguitch Lake

Test results from the Utah Public Health Lab (UPHL)

  • Anatoxin-a: <0.1 micrograms per liter (µg/L)
  • Microcystin: >37,000 µg/L

White Bridge Campground (below Panguitch Lake)

Test results from the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food (UDAF) lab

  • Anatoxin-a: <0.1 µg/L
  • Microcystin: >5 µg/L

Update August 21, 2018

Cyanobacteria cell-count concentrations from a sample collected August 8, 2018, at the Panguitch Lake Boat ramp showed high cell counts of 5,229,989 cells per milliliter (cells/ml). These cell densities exceed the recreation health-based threshold for a Warning Advisory. The reservoir remains under a Warning Advisory based on microcystin levels and cyanobacteria cell-count concentrations.

Warning Advisory for Panguitch Lake

A Warning Advisory indicates a moderate relative probability of acute health risk, cell-count density of 20,000 – 10 million cells per milliliter (cells/ml), microcystin levels of 4-2,000 micrograms per liter (µg/L), or anatoxin-a levels above non-detect. Advisory actions:

  • Do not swim or water ski
  • Do not ingest the water
  • Keep pets and livestock away
  • Clean fish well and discard guts
  • Avoid areas of scum when boating

Update August 15, 2018

Lab results from the Utah Public Health Lab (UPHL) for the sample collected at the Panguitch Lake North Boat Ramp on August 8, 2018, showed microcystin levels of 8.6 micrograms per liter (µg/L) and 0.19 µg/L of anatoxin-a. Toxin levels for both anatoxin-a and microcystin exceed the recreation health-based threshold for a Warning Advisory.


Update August 14, 2018

Panguitch Lake August 7, 2018

Panguitch Lake August 7, 2018

The Division of Water Quality (DWQ) observed a cyanobacteria bloom on interpolated satellite imagery and visited Panguitch Lake on August 7, 2018. The monitoring crew visited two sites on the north side of the lake and one site on the south side of the lake. The bloom appeared to be predominantly in the northeastern portion of the lake. The cyanobacteria were clumped into small masses floating on the water.

Toxin strip tests for a sample taken at the north boat ramp were non-detect for anatoxin-a and invalid for microcystin. The sample has been delivered to multiple labs for further analysis.