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Heat leads to algae issues on Minn. lakes

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ST. PAUL -- Microscopic algae plants in Minnesota waters are being turned into harmful algal blooms, the Pollution Control Agency says.

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They could harm pets, livestock and humans.

“High rainfall, which has been common throughout much of Minnesota this spring, results in nutrient-rich runoff entering our lakes, fueling algae growth,” PCA lakes expert Steve Heiskary said. “While spring and early summer temperatures were cooler than normal, lake temperatures have warmed rapidly. Given these conditions, we are likely to see blue-green algae blooms on many of our lakes.”

While most algae are harmless, the agency warns that some types can pose health risks. People or animals may become sick if they touch or ingest affected water. There have been reports of dogs and other animals dying after exposure to lake water containing toxic blue-green algae.

The biggest danger is in warm, shallow, nutrient-rich lakes, but the PCA says the dangerous algae could be anywhere in the state.

“You don’t have to be an expert to recognize an algae bloom that might be harmful,” Heiskary said. “If it looks bad and smells bad, don’t take a chance. Stay out and keep children and pets away from the water until the bloom subsides.”

Don Davis, INFORUM

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