A health alert has been issued for Pawnee Lake in Lancaster County while one remains in effect for Willow Creek Lake in Pierce County.
State officials issued the alert after readings at Pawnee Lake exceeded the threshold for toxic blue-green algae.
Samples taken at the east and west beaches at Pawnee Lake exceeded the state health alert threshold of 20 parts per billion of total microcystin. Samples taken at a swimming beach at Willow Creek Lake continue to be above that level.
Weekly samples are taking at 50 public lakes in Nebraska throughout the boating, swimming season.
The alerts will remain in effect for at least two more weeks. Alerts are lifted only after lakes pass two consecutive weeks of monitoring.
Swimming beaches have been closed at the two lakes. While recreational boating and fishing are permitted, the public is warned against submerging in either lake. Swallowing the water could be hazardous. Public areas remain open for camping, picnics, and other outdoor activities.
Sampling results for toxic algae and bacteria will be updated every Friday and posted on Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality’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 Fact Sheet.)