A health alert for toxic blue-green algae has been issued for Pawnee Lake in Lancaster County.
It is the first health alert issued by state officials for the 2016 recreational season.
Samples taken earlier this week at Pawnee Lake’s west beach registered 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 alert at Pawnee Lake will continue for at least two weeks. The state does not lift a health alert until samples come in below the threshold for two consecutive weeks.
Swimming beaches at Pawnee Lake are closed. Recreational boating and fishing are permitted. The public is advised to avoid activities, such as swimming, in which they could ingest water. Camping, picnicking, and other outdoor activities are permitted.
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.)
Weekly sampling at Nebraska’s 50 public lakes began in May and will continue throughout the recreational season.