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City raises risk level of harmful algae

Friday, March 26, 2021 by Tai Moses

After LCRA’s recent detection of toxic blue-green algae in some of the other Highland Lakes, the Watershed Protection Department has raised the risk level on Lady Bird Lake and Lake Austin from low to “increased risk.” Dogs are particularly in danger from the harmful algae blooms and should be prevented from having any contact with the water of the affected lakes, including splashing, swimming, drinking or licking water off their fur. A harmful algae bloom in Lady Bird Lake in 2019 led to the deaths of at least five dogs. Brent Bellinger, an environmental scientist with Watershed, said in an announcement about the risk level, “Blue-green algae proliferate in warmer times of the year. However, the specific ranges in which they can produce toxins is still under investigation. With the exception of the winter storm, we had a fairly warm winter this year, which probably contributed to the toxicity concerns we have seen so far in the Highland Lakes. We will continue to track algae quantity and toxicity through the spring as we get ready for the summer bloom season.” You can view the results of recent and forthcoming tests of the water at AustinTexas.gov/algae.

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