Several Nebraska lakes on alert for toxic blue-green algae

Published: Sep. 30, 2022 at 11:46 AM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (WOWT) - Five Nebraska lakes are on alert for toxic algae.

According to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, Big Indian Lake in Gage County, Bluestem Lake in Lancaster County, Willow Creek Reservoir in Pierce County, Iron Horse Trail Lake in Pawnee County and Kirkman’s Cove Lake in Richardson County are affected.

Many of the lakes have previously been on alert for blue-green algae.

Nebraska DHHS samples 54 lakes weekly from May through September. This is the last week sampling will be done.

The samples taken at the affected lakes measured microcystin in amounts above 8 parts per billion, which is enough for a health alert. Microcystin is a toxin released by some strains of blue-green algae.

The CDC says blue-green algae exposure can cause several health issues.

Signs are posted that warn the public and swimming beaches are closed whenever there is a health alert.

Boating and fishing are still allowed, but the public should avoid being exposed to the water. It’s also recommended to avoid swallowing the water or letting pets in the lake.

Use of public lake areas for camping and other outdoor activities is still allowed.