State officials have issued health alerts for three Nebraska lakes and lifted one for another lake.
Health alerts for toxic blue-green algae have been issued for Bluestem Lake in Lancaster County, Kirkman’s Cove in Richardson County, and Willow Creek Lake in Pierce County. Health officials have lifted an alert issued earlier for the Martin Bay portion of Lake McConaughy.
The announcement has been issued jointly by the Department of Health and Human Services – Division of Public Health, the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality, and the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.
Weekly samples are taken at 50 public lakes in Nebraska during the recreational season. Samples taken this week at Bluestem Lake, Kirkman’s Cove, and Willow Creek Lake were above the state’s health alert threshold of 20 parts per billion (ppb) of total microcystin, a toxin released by certain strains of blue-green algae.
The alerts will remain in effect for at least two weeks, because a body of water must register readings below the health alert threshold for two consecutive weeks before the state will lift an alert.
Martin Bay met that criteria and the health alert was lifted.
Signs have been posted at the lakes to caution the public. Though recreational boating and fishing are allowed at the lakes, people are advised not to swim in the lakes or do anything that could cause them to accidentally swallow water. Camping, picnics, and other outdoor activities are not affected by the health alert.
The Department of Environmental Quality releases sampling results every Friday on its website, click here to see the results.
For more information on the potential health effects of toxic blue-green algae click here.