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Issued jointly from the
Department of Health and Human Services – Division of Public Health
Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality
Nebraska Game and Parks Commission
UN-L Water Quality Extension Program
August 31, 2012
Brian McManus, Department of Environmental Quality, (402) 471-4223
Marla Augustine, HHS Communications and Legislative Services, (402) 471-4047
Dave Tunink, Game and Parks Commission, (402) 471-5553
Health Alerts in Effect at Big Indian Creek Lake, Kirkman’s Cove
and Swan Creek Lake #5A
The state is continuing health alerts for toxic blue-green algae at Big Indian Creek Lake in Gage County and Kirkman’s Cove in Richardson County.  In addition, a new health alert is now in effect at Swan Creek Lake #5A (Willard L. Meyer Recreation Area) in Saline County. 
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, Kirkman’s Cove and Swan Creek 5A 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.)  Kirkman’s Cove and Big Indian Creek Lake had both also been on alert last week. The alerts will continue at the lakes 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.
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.
The lakes will continue to be monitored weekly throughout the 2012 recreational season.  Sampling results for toxic algae and bacteria will be updated every Friday and posted on NDEQ’s web site,
(For more information about potential health effects of toxic blue-green algae, what to look for, and steps to avoid exposure, please refer to the Fact Sheet.)