Health Alert issued for Willow Creek Reservoir and Kirkman’s Cove Lake

News Release
For Immediate Release: 8/31/2023

Amanda Woita, Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy, (402) 471-4243,

Allan Urlis, APR, (402) 471-6858, Department of Health and Human Services,

Lincoln – (LINCOLN, NE) – The state has extended health alerts for Harmful Algal Blooms, also known as toxic blue-green algae, at Willow Creek Reservoir in Pierce County and Kirkman's Cove Lake in Richardson County.

Samples taken earlier this week at the lakes measured above the threshold of 8 parts per billion of total microcystin, which is a toxin released by certain strains of blue-green algae.

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 use caution and avoid exposure to the water, particularly avoiding any activity that could lead to swallowing the 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 55 public lake sites since the first week of May. The lakes will continue to be monitored weekly through the end of September. To view the weekly data for the lakes sampled, go to

The state's monitoring is conducted early in the week at public lakes with swimming beaches and high public activity. Sampling results for HAB and bacteria will be updated every Friday and posted on the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy's website, Harmful Algal Blooms may potentially develop in the time between sample collection and sample reporting, so the public should use caution if they see signs of algal blooms. Harmful Algal Blooms may also be present in other lakes in Nebraska that are not sampled. For more information about what to look for, potential health effects from HAB, and steps to avoid exposure, please refer to the Harmful Algal Blooms Fact Sheet on NDEE's website at

NDEE's sampling partners include the Central District Health Department, Nebraska Public Power District, Upper Republican Natural Resources District, Lower Republican NRD, South Platte NRD, Middle Niobrara NRD, Lower Loup NRD, Nemaha NRD, Lower Elkhorn NRD, and the United States Army Corps of Engineers. 

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