With less blue-green algae this year, central Wisconsin lakes mostly healthier

MADISON, Wis. — A year after blue-green algae fouled central Wisconsin lakes and created health hazards, water quality on the lakes has improved because of lower temperatures and wetter conditions.

Homeowners on Lake Petenwell, the Castle Rock Flowage and some smaller central Wisconsin lakes described last year’s algae bloom as one of the worst in memory, Wisconsin Public Radio reported. Photos from June 2016 show the shoreline and boat docks on the lakes surrounded by iridescent green slime.

Adams County Lake Specialist Reesa Evans said last year’s conditions posted a health hazard, but the water quality has improved this year.

“We’ve had such a cool summer, and a lot of rain,” she said. “That means the water is moving and it’s cooler, so we’re not having those hot, still conditions that the blue-green algae like.”

While there have been fewer reports of blue-green algae this year, there are still some patches of blue-green algae on area lakes that should be avoided, Evans said.

“You know the phrase is, ‘When in doubt, stay out.’ If it looks gunky, don’t go in,” she said.

Blue-green algae is bacteria that can cause rashes and respiratory ailments. It can cause serious illness if ingested.

“Last year on one of the inland lakes there was a family that got sick and a dog that died from ingesting blue-green algae,” Evans said.

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