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Time Is Approaching For Blue-Green Algae Blooms On Lakes

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DNR and state health officials say it's nearing the time to be on the lookout for blue-green algae on water bodies across the state. Some blue-green algae can make toxins that cause illness in people and animals who accidentally swallow, inhale, or have prolonged skin contact with the algae.

DNR blue-green algae coordinator Gina LaLiberte says while more likely in agricultural areas, they can occur statewide..

"...Blooms can occur in any water body in Wisconsin, but they're most likely to occur in water bodies where you have a lot of nutrients that blue-green algae can use for growth. They're using nutrients, nitrogen and phosphorus for growth, just the way plants would or more desirable true algae would in a lake system...."

Even lakes can have clumps of the algae if it's blown into an area by currents or the wind. LaLiberte says the most active time for blooms is mid-to-late summer as water temperatures reach their peak.

She says the algae can be more toxic to animals as they are more susceptible to ingesting bloom-filled water...

"...If you see water that has a lot of small, green particles in it, or if it's dense-pea soup-looking water that is very opaque and you can't see your feet in knee deep water, that's when you want to keep animals out. Small children should not be recreating in water that looks like this as well..."

Health officials say common symptoms of exposure to toxic blue-green algae blooms include skin rash, gastrointestinal illness, and respiratory irritation. People experiencing symptoms that may be due to blue-green algal exposure should contact their health care provider or the Poison Center.

More information is  here.

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