DNR: Keep an eye out for harmful algae as bloom season in full effect

Local News

(WFRV) – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is advising of the differences between types of algae that potential swimmers should try to avoid.

The DNR says that filamentous green algae are not harmful, but tell swimmers that they should avoid any water that has a lot of ‘stuff’ in it. People could encounter higher bacterial levels amongst the organic debris or small pockets of cyanobacteria.

Blue-green algae bloom can cause illness if swallowed or inhaled in water droplets. It can also cause irritation if it is rubbed on the skin under clothing.

The DNR says that blue-green algae are photosynthetic bacteria that can be referred to as ‘pond scum’. Blue-green algae have multiple colors including:

  • Green (most often)
  • Blue
  • Tan
  • Reddish-purple
  • Brown

Generally, blue-green algae grow in lakes, ponds and slow-moving streams when the water is warm and enriched with nutrients like phosphorus or nitrogen. They will mostly float to the surface and form scum layers or floating mats known as ‘blue-green algae bloom’.

These algae blooms normally happen between mid-June and late September. The DNR says that in some rare instances blooms have been seen in winter under the ice.

Most lakes in Wisconsin are not tested for blue-green algae so the DNR is trying to educate people what it looks like before they jump into the water.

For more information regarding blue-green algae visit the DNR’s website.

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