issued jointly from the
Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services – Division of Public Health
Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy
Nebraska Game and Parks Commission

Brian McManus, Department of Environment and Energy, (402) 471-4223
Leah Bucco-White, DHHS (402) 471-9356
Jerry Kane, Game and Parks Commission, (402) 471-5008
For Immediate Release
August 28, 2009

Toxic Blue-green Algae Health Alerts Lifted for Merritt, Bluestem and Rockford Lakes

State-issued health alerts for toxic blue-green algae were removed this week for Merritt Reservoir (Cherry County), Bluestem Lake (Lancaster County), and Rockford Lake (Gage County). No lakes are currently on the alert list in the state of Nebraska.

Samples taken at the three listed lakes were below the state’s health alert threshold of 20 parts per billion (ppb) of total Microcystins (a toxin released by certain strains of blue-green algae). This is the second week of testing below the threshold for the three lakes.

Lakes that are on health alert must have two consecutive weeks of readings below 20 ppb before the alert is removed.

Swimming beaches at the lakes will re-open to the public, and the lakes will be open to all activities. People can also safely use the public areas for picnics and other outdoor activities.

The state will continue to conduct weekly sampling at 47 recreational lakes through September. Monitoring will end for the year after the September 29 sample. 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 Toxic Algae Fact Sheet.)