Two new health alerts have been issued for Nebraska lakes, two others continue, and one has been lifted as we enter the long Labor Day weekend.
The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services reports Kirkman’s Cove in Richardson County and Rockford Lake in Gage County now are under health alerts. Alerts continue for Iron Horse Trail Lake in Pawnee County and Willow Creek Lake in Pierce County. State officials lifted the health alert for Pawnee Lake in Lancaster County.
Water samples taken this week at Iron Horse Trail Lake, Willow Creek Lake, Kirkman’s Cove and Rockford Lake registered higher than the state health alert threshold of 20 parts per billion (ppb) of total microcystin (a toxin released by certain strains of blue-green algae). State officials lifted the alert for Pawnee Lake after readings registered below the threshold for two consecutive weeks. Lakes under a health alert must registered readings below the threshold for two consecutive weeks to have the alert lifted.
Signs have been posted at the affected lakes. Swimming beaches are closed. You can boat and fish at the lakes, but state officials advise you not to get into the water. Pets shouldn’t be allowed to get into the water or drink it. Public areas remain open for camping, picnics, and other outdoor activities.
Weekly sampling has been conducted at 50 public lakes in Nebraska since the beginning of May. The lakes will continue to be monitored weekly throughout the 2016 recreational season. Sampling results for toxic algae and bacteria will be updated every Friday and posted on NDEQ’s web site, http://deq.ne.gov.
(For more information about potential health effects of toxic blue-green algae, what to look for, and steps to avoid exposure, please refer to the attached Fact Sheet.)