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Toxic algae found at Barking Springs

Monday, July 25, 2022 by Elizabeth Pagano

In some bad news for those hoping to cool off with their dogs, over the weekend the city confirmed that algae at Barking Springs has tested positive for a potent neurotoxin called dihydroanatoxin. The city tested the area after a dog died July 10 after swimming in the area. A report from the Watershed Protection Department notes that the water itself did not test positive for the toxin and that areas of the park with rapidly flowing water are less likely to have harmful algae blooms. However, the algae thrives in pockets of stagnant water. The report notes that the incident “underscores the fact that harmful algae can be present in any natural waterway in Central Texas,” going on to warn, “Do not get in the water or allow your pets to swim or drink the water if it is warm or stagnant or if you see scum, film or mats of algae. It is always a good idea for both people and pets to rinse off after going for a swim.” The city advises dog owners to protect their pets “by keeping them away from areas that are known to have harmful algae blooms. Earlier this summer, the city of Austin also detected toxins in algae samples at all monitoring locations on Lady Bird Lake, including Red Bud Isle, Auditorium Shores and Edward Rendon Sr. Metro Park, and at Emma Long Metropolitan Park on Lake Austin.” Any sudden, unexplained illness in a human or a pet following swimming should be reported to the Texas Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 or by filling out a form at AustinTexas.gov/algae.

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