Information on the 2018 Harmful Algae Bloom – Lake Anna

Updated November 2, 2018

Orange, Louisa, and Spotsylvania Counties, VA

As of 10/31/18, the recreational swimming season for 2018 has concluded.  

The HAB Task Force has discontinued water sampling for Lake Anna.  

Samples were collected on Tuesday Oct. 23rd in the Pamunkey and North Anna Branches in addition to one site south of Rt. 208 in Fisherman’s Cove (on north shore). A summary of results are below.

Moderate to High Health Risk (red map symbol):

Coves, shallow areas, and shorelines may have scum present. Avoid contact with scum.

  • Fisherman’s Cove (38.0474, -77.74151)

Low to Moderate Health Risk (orange map symbol):

Be aware of the bloom in these areas as water conditions may fluctuate.

  • Upper Pamunkey Branch east of Rt. 522 bridge (38.14309, -77.91724)
  • Upper-Middle Pamunkey Branch at Simms Point/Harris Lane (38.13942, -77.89372)
  • Lower-Middle Pamunkey Branch at Rt. 719 “Dillard’s Bridge” (38.13505, -77.8661)

No to Low Health Risk (yellow map symbol):

Cyanobacteria were detected but at levels which should not pose a health concern.

  • Lower Pamunkey Branch at Lake Anna State Park Beach (38.11231, -77.833099)
  • Upper North Anna Branch near Goldmine Creek and “the Sandbar” (38.11517,-77.93754)
  • Upper-Middle North Anna Branch at Rt. 522 Bridge (38.11607, -77.91367)
  • Middle North Anna Branch at Rt. 719 Bridge (38.11063, -77.88568)
  • Christopher Creek Branch north of Rt. 522 Bridge (38.10049, -77.89427);
  • Lower North Anna Branch near Rose Valley Island (38.10347, -77.85698)


VDH will continue to update the HAB Map with citizen reports of scum. To submit a scum report or fish kill  visit the online HAB report page. Scum reports (which have not been verified) are symbolized in the HAB Map with blue circles.

People visiting the lake to boat or fish should be mindful of blooms which may be ongoing on the Lake and avoid areas with green scum on the water. Scum is more likely to accumulate in shallow areas and along shorelines. Signs similar to the one depicted at right, may be downloaded, laminated, and placed around the watershed to raise awareness about algae blooms during the off season. Signage and awareness will decrease the likelihood of a human or pet exposure during “off-season” months while sampling and advisories for recreational use are not being conducted.

Be aware of algae blooms and stay safe while recreating by following these practices:

    • Do not let children, pets, or livestock get into or drink water from natural waterbodies.
    • Avoid direct contact with water that has unusual color or where there is a visible scum on the water surface.
    • If you or your pet are possibly exposed to algae bloom water, wash off with clean fresh water. Use rubber gloves if contact with waters containing a scum is unavoidable.
    • If you or pets are exposed to a bloom and/or suspect you are experiencing health effects, consult your local health care provider/veterinarian.
    • It is considered safe to consume properly cooked fish fillets cleaned from fish caught in waters with an algae bloom. Discard the carcass and guts and thoroughly wash skin and surfaces that come
      into contact with the fish.
    • Review the algae bloom map for sites of crowd-sourced scum reports.
    • Report algae blooms and fish kills using the online HAB
      report form
    • Report health effects which are believed to be a result of exposure to an algae bloom on the HAB Hotline at 888-238-6154.

Double-click on the map in the area of Lake Anna (north-west of Richmond) to zoom in- Expand the map [ ]  and click on dots to review sample results for each site. The color legend for the HAB Map is below.

Information about Lake Anna…                                                                                               

The 9,600-acre lake is a popular recreational and vacation destination. Lake Anna State Park, which features a swimming beach and boat ramp, is located at the confluence of the Pamunkey and North Anna Branches of Lake Anna. Several marinas and a campground are also along the shores of the Lake.

The “hot-side” of Lake Anna is privately owned and not publicly accessible. If you would like to submit a HAB report online for blooms/fish kills on the ‘hot side’ VDH will forward your complaint to Dominion Virginia Energy.

The water quality on Lake Anna has the potential to be vary from one area to the next. Officials can only speak to the results which have been collected and recommendations are based on cyanobacteria concentrations at the time of collection. The public is encouraged to be aware of algae blooms while on the lake when in areas which have not been sampled and to watch for areas where there is a color change or where there appears to be a scum or film present. In addition, all natural bodies of water contain viruses, protozoans, and bacteria which may pose health risks, especially following rain events. The VDH advises the public to avoid swimming after rain events.

Picture is of Lake Anna State Park Beach courtesy of DCR.

References and Resources: