What you need to know about blue-green algae

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – If you’ve been to Wall Lake this summer, chances are you may have noticed some blue-green algae along the shoreline. Last week, South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks made a concerned Facebook post warning families about the algae. KELOLAND News met with them to talk about what you need to know if you find yourself toe-to-toe with the colorful seaweed.

YMCA Lifeguard Max Larsen is taking his campers out for a day on Wall Lake, and he’s taking in all of the sights.

“Oh it’s a beautiful day; it’s nice and warm. Not many clouds,” Larsen said.

But there is a lot of blue-green algae that’s washed up on the surface.

Blue-Green algae at Wall Lake

“You’ve just got to make sure the kids don’t touch it so much,” Larsen said.

We spoke with Regional Conservation Supervisor Jeremy Roe and he says this type of algae is actually fairly common this time of year.

“Anytime that we have a lake that we’re not seeing much wind and we’re getting severe heat we’ll see that blue-green algae bloom,” Roe said.

It often likes to sprout in the harbors and back-bays of those lakes. This year it’s been found at Wall Lake and Lake Madison. He says it’s not toxic to humans, unless large amounts are ingested.

“If it looks bad and smells bad, don’t go in it,” Roe said.

“We watch the water quality and what DNR says is safe and not safe and whatever we can before we let the kids into the water,” Larsen said.

But it’s a different story for animals and pets.

“We do stress to keep your pets out of it. Obviously, when dogs and stuff, when they go in the water they’ll start drinking the water and then that can be toxic,” Roe said.

As summer cools down, Roe says the algae will begin to dissipate thanks to the cool air and wind.

“But if we stay the hot temperatures and no wind, we can see it last for a couple weeks for sure,” Roe said.

While mother nature needs to run its course with this one, it’s up to us to take basic precautions to stay safe.

“We usually just say to the kids: just keep their faces out of the water, wash their hands before and after, just in general. Again, we do watch to make sure there isn’t and unsafe amount of blue-green algae in the water,” Larsen said.

You can visit the Game, Fish, & Parks website to see other recommendations for safety.

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