Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality Warns Lake Goers of Toxic Algae

PIERCE – Toxic Algae in four Nebraska lakes is at dangerous levels.

The Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality issued warnings for the Willow Creek Lake Reservoir in Pierce County, Big Indian Lake and Rockford Lake in Gage County, and Maple Creek Recreation Area Lake in Colfax County.

Park Superintendent Dan Sutherland says the warnings come following tests conducted by The Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality.

“We have a representative from the NRD that comes out and tests and take a water sample and we test for Microcystin or the makeup of the blue-green algae and if it gets past 20 parts-per-billion, then we notify people that it’s not advisable to have any full body contact,” Sutherland explains.

The Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality will continue to test the lakes weekly to monitor the algae levels.

Sutherland says, “blue-green algae is pretty natural to any lake in the state and there’s probably some in all lakes at all times. It floats… you can have a lake that can test fine, but if the wind’s blowing from the north and the beach is on the south we may have a concentration on the beach.”

Health officials and park supervisors are advising people to have no body contact with the lakes.

“Fishing is still fine, boating is still fine. This has been a dream [of] July for camping weather-wise, but we do advise people now that we tested over 20 parts-per-billion not to have full body contact. It’s especially sensitive for kids and pets because they don’t know not to ingest the water, and so that’s the scary part.”

For additional information, you can visit The Nebraska Department Environmental Quality Website at