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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

July 29, 2011

Brian McManus, Department of Environmental Quality, (402) 471-4223
Marla Augustine, DHHS Communications and Legislative Services, (402) 471-4047
Dave Tunink, Game and Parks Commission, (402) 471-5553

Health Alert Issued for Lone Star, Rockford and Maskenthine Lakes, Alert Continues for Willow Creek Lake

The state has issued health alerts for toxic blue-green algae at Lone Star Lake in Fillmore County, Rockford Lake in Gage County and Maskenthine Lake in Stanton County. An alert continues to be in effect at Willow Creek Lake in Pierce County.

Weekly sampling has been conducted at 49 public lakes in Nebraska since the beginning of May. Samples taken this week at the four lakes were above the state’s health alert threshold of 20 parts per billion (ppb) of total Microcystins (a toxin released by certain strains of blue-green algae.) The alerts at Lone Star, Rockford and Maskenthine lakes are the first at those lakes this year. This is the third consecutive week that an alert has been in effect at Willow Creek Lake. The alerts will continue at the four 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 2011 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 attached pdficon.gif (914 bytes)Fact Sheet.)