Nov 25, 2019

Red Bud Isle Reopens After Harmful Blue-Green Algae Blooms

Red Bud Isle in Austin, Texas, has reopened after being closed since August because of harmful blue-green algae blooms in the water.

Red Bud Isle Reopens After Harmful Blue-Green Algae Blooms

Red Bud Isle in Austin, Texas, has reopened after being closed for months because of harmful blue-green algae blooms in the water, according to the Statesman.

The toxin levels reached their peak in August. Scientists testing algae at three sites for the city’s Watershed Protection Department (WPD) found the toxin was still present in October. As of Nov. 12, however, the toxin was not present in algae samples, reported the Statesman.

Brent Bellinger, an environmental scientist for Austin’s Watershed Protection Department believes Austin’s recent cooler weather helped the decrease in algae, as blue-green algae undergo winter dormancy when water temperatures are between 60 and 65 degrees.

The harmful algae bloom was reportedly responsible for the deaths of at least five dogs, according to the Austin Monitor. The city closed the area in August and had been periodically monitoring levels of toxins in algae on the lake ever since.

City officials say dog owners can now let their pets swim in the lake at their own risk, but another harmful algae bloom is always possible.

Exposure to the toxins that attach to blue-green algae can be fatal for pets, reported the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty.

Considering algae blooms officials thrive in clear, warm waters with little flow, officials worry they could become more prevalent going forward as the earth warms.

The presence of invasive zebra mussels in Lady Bird Lake will likely lead to more blooms in the future, according to scientists

“People should understand that there could still be algae. This is our new normal, potentially. There will probably always be some amount of risk, the question will be how high or how low that risk is depending on conditions,” said Austin WPD spokeswoman Stephanie Lott.

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