A 45-kilometer stretch of the Merced River in California – where a couple, their 1-year-old child and their dog were found dead in August – was closed after extremely high levels of toxins bound to algae were found in water samples. Hiking trails and water accesses along the Merced River between Briceburg and Bagby have been closed. The bodies of John Gerrish, Ellen Chung, their daughter and the family dog were found on a hiking trail in the Sierra National Forest along the river on August 17. “These algal blooms can produce toxins that can make people and pets extremely sick,” Elizabeth Meyer-Shields, a spokeswoman for the Bureau of Land Management, said in a statement. The cause of death for the family is not clear, but a foul game has been ruled out.
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