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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

September 9, 2016

Brian McManus, Department of Environmental Quality, (402) 471-4223
Leah Bucco-White, DHHS, (402) 471-9356
Dave Tunink, Game and Parks Commission, (402) 471-5553

Health Alert Issued at Big Indian Creek Lake; Alerts Continue at Kirkman’s Cove, Rockford Lake, Iron Horse Trail Lake and Willow Creek Lake
The state has issued one new health alert this week, at Big Indian Creek Lake in Gage County.  Alerts continue at Kirkman’s Cove in Richardson County, Rockford Lake in Gage County, Iron Horse Trail Lake in Pawnee County and Willow Creek Lake in Pierce County.
Samples taken earlier this week at Big Indian Creek Lake and Iron Horse Trail 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.)  Although readings were low at Kirkman’s Cove, Rockford Lake and Willow Creek Lake, those lakes will continue to be on alert for at least one more 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.  Do not let pets get in the water or drink from the lake.  People can still use the public areas for camping, picnics and other outdoor activities.
Weekly sampling has been conducted at 50 public lakes in Nebraska since the beginning of May.  The lakes will continue to be monitored weekly through the last week of September.  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 attached Fact Sheet.)