Weather, lake levels blamed for algae bloom|
|Warm weather and falling lake levels had led to a bloom of blue-green algae on Pelican Lake, but so far Langlade County seems to have skirted the problem.|
The Department of Natural Resources Tuesday confirmed the increased presence of cyanobacteria, also known as pond scum or blue-green algae on the popular fishing lake, located just north of the Langlade County line.
Swimmers, boaters and recreational users are urged to avoid direct contact with or use of water due to the toxins produced by this type of blue-green algae. Exposure can cause a variety of symptoms in both humans and pets.
Ron Barger, director of the Langlade County Health Department, said no problems have been reported here.
“The DNR does periodic monitoring and does tell us if there are any concerns,” Barger said. “It’s generally not a problem here.”
If concerns are noted on Langlade County lakes, Barger said the Health Department does have monitoring and reporting procedures in place to ensure the public is not endangered.
Blue-green algae, technically known as Cyanobacteria, are microscopic organisms that are naturally present in Wisconsin lakes, streams and ponds at low levels.
When conditions are favorable, usually in summer, the number of algae can increase dramatically. The algae blooms appear as bright green in the water, and blue-green, white or brown foam, scum or mats can float on the water and accumulate along the shore.
According to the DNR, people should limit or avoid eating fish from a lake experiencing an algae bloom, and if fish are consumed, the guts and liver should be removed and the filets rinsed in clean drinking water.
Do not drink, cook or wash dishes with untreated surface water from these areas since common water purification techniques such as camping filters, tablets and boiling do not remove toxins.
Recreational exposure to toxic blue-green algae in humans can cause eye irritation, allergic skin rash, mouth ulcer, vomiting, diarrhea, and cold and flu-like symptoms. Liver failure, nerve damage and death have occurred in rare situations where large amounts of contaminated water were directly ingested.
Pets are especially susceptible to algae blooms because they don’t naturally avoid green, scummy water and they require ingesting a smaller amount of toxins in order to harm them due to their size. Common symptoms include lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, convulsions, difficult breathing, and general weakness. Seek veterinary care if you feel your pet has been exposed to blue-green algae and is experiencing any of these symptoms.
Keeler’s Landing on the west side of Pelican Lake was a tranquil place shortly after dawn this morning.
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