By Emily Roehler, Weekend Meteorologist - bio | email
The state has issued a health alert for toxic blue-green algae at Big Indian Creek Lake in Gage County. This is the only health alert currently in effect.
Weekly sampling has been conducted at 49 public lakes in Nebraska since the beginning of May. Samples taken earlier this week at Big Indian Creek Lake were above 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 alert will be in effect at the lake for two weeks, because lakes that are on health alert must have two consecutive weeks of readings below the threshold before the alert is discontinued.
Next week will be the final week of sampling for 2012.
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.
People can still use the public areas for camping, picnics and other outdoor activities.
Weekly monitoring for the 2012 recreational season concludes next week. Sampling results for toxic algae and bacteria are posted every Friday on NDEQ's web site, http://deq.ne.gov/.