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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

For Immediate Release
August 29, 2014

Contact 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 Issued for Big Indian Creek Lake, Kirkman’s Cove; Alerts Continue at Bluestem Lake,
Iron Horse Trail Lake and Willow Creek Lake

Health alerts for toxic blue-green algae are currently in effect at five lakes in Nebraska.  Alerts have been issued for Big Indian Creek Lake in Gage County and Kirkman’s Cove in Richardson County.  Alerts continue at Bluestem Lake in Lancaster County, Iron Horse Trail Lake in Pawnee County, and Willow Creek Lake in Pierce County.  The alerts for Oliver Lake in Kimball County and Swan Creek Lake 5A in Saline County have ended.
Samples taken earlier this week indicated the five lakes 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 alerts will continue at the lakes for at least two more weeks.  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 2014 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.)