Wyoming news briefs for August 23


Harmful cyanobacteria returns to Wyoming lakes

LARAMIE — In what’s become an annual late-summer happening, a handful of waters in southeast Wyoming are under an advisory from the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality for harmful cyanobacterial blooms. 

Advisories are in place for West Granite Springs Reservoir, Leazenby Lake, Saratoga Reservoir, Wheatland Reservoir No. 3 and Pathfinder Reservoir. 

Hazardous cyanobacterial blooms are dense concentrations of cyanobacteria — also sometimes called blue-green algae — that pose a health risk to humans, pets, livestock and wildlife. In humans, health effects include rashes, itching, numbness, nausea, fatigue, disorientation, abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhea. 

In extreme cases, toxins may lead to pet, livestock or wildlife death. 

Normally, cyanobacteria are present in water bodies at low levels and are part of the aquatic ecosystem. Toxic concentrations can look like grass clippings, bluegreen scum or spilled paint.

Lindsay Patterson, surface water quality standards supervisor for the DEQ, said blooms tend to occur as water temperatures warm, making August and September the peak season. Other factors that influence production include water depth, dominant wind direction, water movement and the presence of nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus. 

Some nutrients occur naturally, while others are introduced to water bodies from municipal wastewater, agriculture runoff, fossil fuel pollution, septic systems, fertilizer and pet waste.

In any body of water under an advisory, the bloom might only be occurring in a certain area. Such bodies are still open for recreation, although visitors should use caution. Recreationists should avoid contact with water in the vicinity of a bloom and make sure pets and livestock stay out of the water. Animals that come into contact with water should be rinsed with clean water as soon as possible. 

Updated information about current advisories is available at wyohcbs.org.

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Large-scale military training scheduled near Rawlins

RAWLINS — Residents and motorists in southeast Wyoming, especially in and around Camp Guernsey and the Muddy Gap area north of Rawlins, can expect to see an increased military presence of low-flying aircraft from Sept. 11-17. 

U.S. Air Force units are partnering with state agencies to support a multi-state Rally in the Rockies training exercise that will include various operations in Wyoming, Colorado and Utah. 

The training will use multiple cargo and fighter aircraft, along with ground crews from other service branches. 

The goal of the large-scale training is to refresh skills, knowledge and techniques that have not been used since before 2000, according to a press release from the Wyoming Military Department. 

The training is not open to the public and there will be no public parking or services at or near the sites.

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Yellowstone ends fishing closure

JACKSON — It’s once again OK to fish Yellowstone’s rivers and streams in the afternoon and evening.

The national park rescinded a 2 p.m. fishing closure it had ordered on July 24 in response to high water temperatures and unprecedented low stream flows in rivers and streams. Conditions at the time were stressful and even fatal for trout, but now they’re better.

“Water temperatures are now well below thermal thresholds for trout, and flows are returning to long-term averages,” a press release said.

Even though anglers can resume fishing from sunrise to sunset, Yellowstone asked for some consideration.

“Do not play hooked trout to exhaustion,” the press release said. “Gently handle and release them quickly after they have revived. Your cooperation will protect the park fisheries and may preclude the need to prohibit fishing again this season should conditions worsen in rivers and creeks.”

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Shots fired at Boot Hill lead to 13 charges

GILLETTE  A man accused of shooting 12 bullets into the air outside of the Boot Hill Nightclub has been charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm, a felony that could mean up to three years in prison if he is convicted.

Felix L. Rivera, 29, also faces 12 misdemeanor counts of reckless endangerment for each of the bullets that were shot while 40 to 50 people were hanging around outside of the bar.

Police received reports at about 2:15 a.m. July 31 that a passenger in a dark-colored, older model car had just fired multiple times in the air while driving past the front doors of the nightclub.

Several of the people who were outside during the incident saw the shooting and said the car had three occupants: two men and a woman. The woman had been in a fight with another woman in the bar, which turned physical outside of the bar before it was broken up.

The three got into the car, and as they drove away, the man in the passenger seat put his arm outside of the window, holding a semi-automatic gun. He fired multiple rounds into the air, according to the affidavit.

The reckless endangering charges were for firing indiscriminately into the air while people were around, which placed them in danger of death or serious bodily injury. Each count carries a maximum penalty of a year in jail and a $750 fine.

Rivera remains in the Campbell County jail. His arraignment in District Court is scheduled for Wednesday.

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