Harmful Algal Blooms alert issued for Willow Creek Reservoir in Pierce County, Neb.

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LINCOLN, Neb. (KCAU) — A body of water in Pierce County is among two in the state of Nebraska that state officials have issued a health alert for.

The state issued the Harmful Algal Blooms health alert Friday morning at Willow Creek Reservoir in Pierce County. Wirth Brothers Lake in Johnson County and Swan Creek Lake (Willard L. Meyer Recreation Area) in Saline County are still on health alert.

Calamus Reservoir in Garfield County and Wirth Brothers Lake in Johnson County were also removed from health alert this week.

The DHHS said samples that were taken at the lakes were above the threshold of eight parts per billion of total microcystin, which is a toxin released by certain strains of blue-green algae. The state adopted the limit to issue health alert based on EPA recommendations issued in 2019.

As part of the health alert, 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 asked to be cautious and avoid exposure to the water, especially 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.

Officials have conducted weekly sampling of 53 public lakes since the first week of May. The lakes will continue to be monitored weekly through the end of September. The Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy posts the sample results on their website every Friday.

For more information about what to look for, potential health effects from HAB and steps to avoid exposure, please refer to the following Fact Sheet.

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