INDIANAPOLIS – Blue-green algae is blooming on lakes and ponds across the state of Indiana. While no beaches are closed due to this algae, it is still important to avoid it and stay safe during the rest of the summer months. Ginger Murphy, the Deputy Director for Stewardship for Indiana State Parks, explained where algae bloom is found and ways you can help slow the spread of algae.
What are blue-green algae?
Blue-green algae are a group of photosynthetic bacteria. They are most often blue-green in color, but can also be blue, green, reddish-purple, or brown. When environmental conditions are just right, they can multiply quickly. Most species rise to the surface where they form floating mats but some stay suspended under the water’s surface.
Murphy explained that it is a common occurrence in lakes and ponds across the state and has been for a long time. It is caused and grows to become an issue during the summer months due to warmer temperatures.
Where are the biggest algae blooms?
There are no beaches in the state that are closed due to algae but there are some that are under an advisory for algae. There are different alert levels that a beach can be put under if there are enough algae around to cause concern.
A full list of beaches under an alert can be found on the Department of Natural Resources website.
What should you do if you come in contact with the algae?
If you or your pet come in contact with algae, shower as soon as possible to avoid a rash or reaction to the algae. Some common symptoms after contact with algae are rashes, skin, eye irritation, and effects such as nausea, stomach aches, and tingling in fingers and toes. If you or your pet swallow any algae, seek medical attention.
Ways to help slow the spread of algae
Murphy encourages everyone to limit the use of chemicals that contain phosphorus, a nutrient that blue-green algae feed on. This is found in lawn products and can leak from your septic system, so be sure to take care of that.