Lincoln, Neb. — A new health alert for harmful algal blooms, also known as toxic blue-green algae, has been issued at Kirkman’s Cove in Richardson County. Alerts continue at Rockford Lake in Gage County, Wagon Train Lake in Lancaster County and Willow Creek Reservoir in Pierce County.
During water testing earlier this week, the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy detected elevated toxin levels produced by blue-green algal blooms in Kirkman’s Cove, Wagon Train and Willow Creek. The alerts there will continue for at least two more weeks, because lakes that are on health alert must have two consecutive weeks of readings below the threshold before the alert is discontinued. Although readings were low at Rockford Lake, it will remain on alert due to high readings in the previous week’s samples.
Visitors to lakes on health alert should avoid full body contact activities such as swimming, wading, skiing, jet skiing, etc. Non-contact activities such as boating, fishing and camping are OK. Dog owners are urged to keep pets out of the water and not allow them to ingest lake water.
Weekly sampling is done at 51 public lakes from May through September. Monitoring is conducted at public lakes with swimming beaches and high public activity. Harmful blooms also may be present in untested lakes, so the public should use caution if they see blue-green algae.
Updated lake algae and bacteria levels are posted each week at dee.ne.gov.