For more information,
contact NDEQ's Public Information Office, (402) 471-4223 or (402) 471-4243

Health Alert Issued at Rockford Lake, Willow Creek Lake;

Alert Continues at Big Indian Creek Lake

The state has issued health alert this week at Rockford Lake in Gage County, and Willow Creek Lake in Pierce County. An alert continues at Big Indian Creek Lake in Gage County, and an alert has ended at Iron Horse Trail Lake in Pawnee County.

Samples taken earlier this week at Rockford Lake and Big Indian Creek Lake were above the state’s health alert threshold of 20 parts per billion (ppb) of total microcystin (a toxin released by certain strains of blue-green algae.) Although readings were low at Big Indian Creek Lake, the lake will continue to be on alert for at least one more week. Lakes that are on health alert must have two consecutive weeks of readings below the threshold before the alert is discontinued.

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 avoid activities that could involve accidental ingestion of water and to avoid full immersion in 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 50 public lakes in Nebraska since the beginning of May. The lakes will continue to be monitored weekly through the last week of September. Sampling results for toxic algae and bacteria will be updated every Friday and posted on NDEQ’s web site, http://deq.ne.gov.

(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 attached Fact Sheet.)