Health alert issued for toxic algae by Martin Bay

Nebraska officials have issued a health alert for toxic blue-green algae at the Martin Bay area of Lake McConaughy.


Nebraska officials have issued a health alert for toxic blue-green algae at the Martin Bay area of Lake McConaughy.

The alert applies only to the bay and not the main portion of Lake McConaughy.

Weekly sampling has been conducted at 50 public lakes in Nebraska since the beginning of May. Samples taken earlier this week at Martin Bay were above the state's threshold of 20 parts per billion (ppb) of total microcystin.

Microcystin is a toxin released by certain strains of blue-green algae. It can cause itching, rashes and blisters on the skin and, if ingested, cause digestive issues, said Brian McManus, a spokesman for the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality.

Martin Bay is on the northeast end of Lake McConaughy. Because of low water levels, the bay is not connected to the main lake.

The alert will continue at the Martin Bay for at least two more weeks, officials said

When a health alert is issued, signs are posted to advise the public to use caution. The Martin Bay swimming area will be 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 in Martin Bay.

People still can use the public areas for camping, picnics and other outdoor activities.

A blue-green algae alert was issued earlier this month for Swan Creek Lake in Saline County, McManus said. It expired Aug. 16. An alert issued for Lone Star Lake in Fillmore County ran from June 21 through July 4, he said.

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