Three lakes, one in northeastern Nebraska and two in southeastern Nebraska, have been placed on health alerts due to high levels of blue-green algal blooms.
State officials issued the health alerts for Willow Creek Reservoir in northeastern Nebraska’s Pierce County and for Rockford Lake in Gage County and Iron Horse Trail Lake in Pawnee County, both in southeastern Nebraska. Rockford Lake had just come out from under a health alert.
Testing by the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality discovered elevated toxin levels produced by blue-green algal blooms in both lakes.
Samples taken from the lakes last week registered higher that 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 three lakes will remain under the alerts for at least two weeks. Lakes under a health alert must register two consecutive weeks of readings under the threshold before an alert is lifted.
Signs have been erected at both lakes warning the public. Swimming beaches have been closed. Recreational boating and fishing can continue. The public is cautioned against getting in the water of swallowing the water.
Pets should be kept out of the lakes and should not be allowed to drink from the lakes.
Camping and picnic areas remain open. Outdoor activities are permitted.
State officials monitor all 52 public lakes in Nebraska throughout the recreational season. Sampling results are updated every Friday. You can find them by clicking here for the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality’s website.
(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.)