Blue-Green Algae Warnings Issued for Several Nebraska, Kansas Lakes


New health alerts for toxic blue-green algae have been issued for Bluestem Lake in Lancaster County and Oliver Lake in Kimball County, according to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.

Alerts also continue for Iron Horse Lake in Pawnee County, Willow Creek Lake 5A in Pierce County and Swan Creek Lake 5A in Saline County.

Samples taken earlier this week indicated the Bluestem and Oliver lakes were above the state's health alert threshold of 20 parts per billion of total microcystin. This is a toxin released by certain strains of blue-green algae.

Alerts continue at Iron Horse Trail, Willow Creek and Swan Creek 5A, which all had tested above the health alert threshold last week. Lakes that are on health alert must have two consecutive weeks of readings below the threshold before the alert is discontinued.

When a health alert is issued, signs are posted to advise the public to use caution and designated swimming beaches are closed during the alert. Recreational boating and fishing are permitted, but the public is advised to avoid activities that could involve accidental ingestion of water and to avoid full immersion in water.The area can still used for camping, picnics and other outdoor activities.

In Kansas, the Department of Health and Environment is cautioning the public about toxic levels of blue-green algae in several lakes as well.

The agency issued health warnings Thursday saying water conditions are unsafe. Officials say people, pets and livestock should not drink the water and should avoid swimming or wading.

The warnings are posted for Cedar Park Lake, Deanna Rose Farmstead Pond and South Park Lake in Johnson County; Brown County State Fishing Lake; Hiawatha City Lake; Chisholm Creek Park Lake in Sedgwick County; Memorial Park Lake in Barton County; Jewell State Fishing Lake in Jewell County; Lake Warnock in Atchison County; and part of Milford Reservoir.

A less serious advisory was also issued for Antioch Park Lake in Johnson County.