A wet spring and rising temps could lead to more potentially harmful algae blooms in time for the Fourth of July weekend.
According to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, blooms have already been reported on Lake Hiawatha and Lake Harriet in Minneapolis, leading to swimming advisories.
The MPCA says to avoid lakes and streams if the water looks "green and slimy," and especially if there's a blue-green tint. The algae could contain toxic bacteria that can sicken humans and kill animals, like dogs, within hours of contact.
"If in doubt, stay out," Lee Engel, surface water monitoring supervisor for the MPCA, said. "Excess nutrients such as phosphorus and warm water temps are ideal for growing algae and causing nuisance blooms. Holiday weekends typically see more people out on Minnesota lakes to boat, fish, and swim, and due to this year's conditions, we need everyone to remain vigilant in looking for potentially harmful algae."
MPCA says people can protect dogs by:
-Keeping them out of algae-laden water
-Hosing them off immediately after playing in any lake or stream
-Preventing them from ingesting affected water or licking toxins from their coat
-Seeing a veterinarian immediately if your dog may have been exposed to blue-green algae
According to the MPCA, the top pollutant of concern in Minnesota lakes is phosphorus, which fuels the growth of algae.
For more information on algae and how to reduce phosphorus pollution in local lakes, <a href="https://www.pca.state.mn.us/water/blue-green-algae-and-harmful-algal-blooms" rel="noopener" target="_blank">click here</a>.
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