Health alerts have been issued for two Nebraska lakes, the first of the 2017 recreational season.
State officials issued health alerts for harmful algal blooms, also known as toxic blue-green-algae, at Iron Horse Trail Lake in Pawnee County and Pawnee Lake in Lancaster County.
Water samples taken from both lakes this week 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.)
Health alerts remain in effect for at least two weeks. Samples taken from lakes must register below the threshold for two consecutive weeks before a health alert is lifted.
Designated swimming beaches will be closed as long as the health alerts remain in effect. Recreational boating and fishing are permitted. State officials advise against getting in the water or swallowing lake water. They also advise against letting pets get in the water or drink from the lake during the alert.
Camping, picnics, and other outdoor activities are still permitted.
State officials monitor state lakes throughout the recreational season. Sampling results for harmful algal blooms and bacteria will be updated every Friday and posted on Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality’s web site, deq.ne.gov.
For more information about potential health effects of harmful algal blooms, what to look for, and steps to avoid exposure, please refer to the Fact Sheet. To view the weekly data for the lakes sampled, click here.