All have had high levels of harmful algal blooms, also known as toxic blue-green algae.
A health alert has been issued for Bluestem Lake in Lancaster County and Willow Creek Reservoir in Pierce County. Alerts continue for Pawnee Lake in Lancaster County and Swan Creek Lake 5A in Saline County.
Water samples taken this week at Bluestem, Willow Creek and Swan Creek disclosed algal blooms levels 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 for those three lakes will continue for at least two more weeks. Samples at lakes must be below harmful levels for two consecutive weeks before an alert is lifted.
Samples from Pawnee Lake registered below the state threshold, but must pass one more week before the alert is ended there.
Public swimming beaches are closed during alerts. Boating and fishing is allowed, but the public is advised not to get in the water or allowed their pets to drink the water or get in it. Camping, picnics, and other outdoor activities are allowed.
Sampling is conducted weekly at 50 public lakes during the recreation season. Sampling results for harmful algal blooms and bacteria will be updated every Friday and posted on NDEQ’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 attached Fact Sheet. To view the weekly data for the lakes sampled, go to http://deq.ne.gov/NDEQProg.nsf/Beaches2017.xsp.