Sonoma County environmental safety officials and the state’s water oversight agency are cautioning county residents about harmful algae that were discovered in the Russian and Gualala rivers and Salmon Creek.

The Sonoma County Department of Environmental Health Services and the State Water Resources Control Board recently confirmed the algal blooms growing along the river and creek beds.

The algal mats could also detach and become stranded on the banks of the creek and two rivers, according to county officials.

Children and dogs are most at risk for serious health effects from the algal blooms and are urged to avoid touching suspicious or unknown material in the water or along bodies of water.

The county has also posted toxic algae advisories at Salmon Creek and the two rivers. Residents, boaters, swimmers and fishers can view photos of the algae blooms on the signs as well as online.

People visiting the rivers and creek are advised to avoid drinking from the three bodies of water or using them for cooking and should wash themselves with clean water after coming into contact with the creek and rivers.

People should also thoroughly clean fish caught in the two rivers and Salmon Creek with clean water and avoid eating shellfish caught from the bodies of water.

Algal bloom reports can be filed through the Water Resources Control Board, by email, or by calling the state’s algal bloom hotline at 844-729-6466. Calls can also be made to Sonoma County Environmental Health at 707-565-6565.