SOUTH SIOUX CITY, Neb. (KCAU) — A health alert has been issued for Harmful Algal Blooms (HAB) in two Siouxland lakes.  

According to a release from the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, samples taken at Maskenthine Reservoir in Stanton County and Willow Creek Reservoir in Pierce County showed a harmful amount of microcystin which is a toxin that is released by specific strains of blue-green algae.  

While recreational boating and boating is permitted during a health alert, designated swimming beaches are closed with signs posted advising caution.  

The release stated that the public is advised to avoid exposure to the water and any activity that could lead to swallowing the water. It was also stated that pets should not be let in the water or drink from the lake, but the areas can still be used for camping, picnics, and other outdoor activities.  

Samples are taken from the lakes weekly and will continue to be taken on a regular schedule until the end of September. Results are updated and posted on the NDEE website.  

States monitor lakes that have high public activity, but lakes that are not tested could present a risk of HAB, according to the release. The public is advised to be cautious of lakes if they see signs of algal blooms.  

Additional information about what to look for, health effects, and how to avoid exposure can be found here. Weekly data can be found here.