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Toxic Algae in a Lake near Lincoln, Nebraska

Toxic Algae - North Shore - Pawnee Lake near Lincoln, Nebraska
A protected shoreline at Pawnee Lake near Lincoln, NE. The water in the photo is like a thick, pea-soup due to the accumulation of toxic algae. The photo was taken 9/10/04 - the lake has a Health Alert status.

Toxic algae or blue-green algae has been found in a number of Nebraska lakes this spring and summer. The poison produced by algae can cause human and animal health problems ranging from skin irritation, diarrhea, and vomiting, to death from liver or respiratory failure.

Algae blooms usually accumulate near the shoreline where pets and toddlers ave easy access and the water is shallow and more stagnant.

It is important to keep a watchful eye on children and pets so that they do not enter the water.

Watch out for:

  • Water that has a neon green, pea green, blue-green or reddish-brown color;
  • Water that has a bad odor;
  • Foam, scum or a thick mat on the water surface; and/or,
  • Green or blue-green streaks on the surface, or accumulations in bays and along shorelines.

Source: Precautions & facts regarding toxins in lakes. Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services & the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality.

You are encouraged to read the entire fact sheet to learn more about health risks, symptoms, find a list of lakes in Nebraska with Health Alerts/Advisories, and learn about boating/fishing recommendations HERE


Beach Closed Sign due to Toxic AlgaeFree Test Kits Available:

University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension's water quality program has developed a volunteer monitoring program to check Nebraska lakes for blue-green algae. Free test kits are available so lake owners, users and managers can check their lake for potential toxin-producing algae.

Kits contain instructions on proper sample collection, a sheet for recording measurements, a questionnaire about the lake and sample bottles for water and algae. Samples are returned for processing and those who submit samples are notified of results.

For more information or a test kit, call Tadd Barrow at (402) 472-7783. For more information on Water Quality and Toxic Algae visit http://water.unl.edu

Can You Guess ItThis photo is featured in the September 2004 NEBLINE Newsletter

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