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Blue-green algae bloom found in Lake Harriet

Blue-green algae bloom found in Lake Harriet
Blue-green algae bloom found in Lake Harriet 01:40

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board says Thursday a blue-green algae bloom has been found in Lake Harriet.

While algae blooms are usually not harmful, MPRB says the algae bloom on Lake Harriet is potentially harmful because it is a mix of two algae types.

Blue-green algae can produce cyanotoxins that can make humans and animals sick if ingested.

Despite the name, blue-green algae can be many colors and can look like spilled paint on the surface of the water.

"There's no way to tell by looking at blue-green algae whether it's toxic or not," said MPRB Water Resources Supervisor Rachel Crabb. "We just tell people if you see blue-green algae, if it's forming a scum, or if the water is murky enough so you can't see your feet if the water is knee depth, to stay out of the water."

The Minnesota Department of Health advises not to let dogs drink or swim in the affected water as pets are at the highest risk for getting sick.

MPRB says springtime algae blooms can happen when lake conditions change quickly due to large amounts of nutrients from snowmelt, warming water and shifts in weather.

Cathy Abene is on the park board and feels it's time for a change. The board says it sees a solution: adding $2 a month to city utility bills starting next year, creating millions of dollars to pay for staff and projects focused on water quality.  

"This is the downstream effect of actually how we treat runoff and how we manage our water cycle in an urban environment," Abene said. "Right now, the only thing we can do is deal with it at the end of the pipe, in the lake, close the beach, but it would be great if we could prevent it."

The park board says that limiting fertilizer and picking up after your pets can help limit the spread of algae.

You can check here for water quality advisories in Minneapolis.

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