AUSTIN (KXAN) — There’s now an “increased risk” of cyanotoxins produced by blue-green algae in Lady Bird Lake and Lake Austin, the city announced Thursday.
Recent tests by the Lower Colorado River Authority showed the presence of the toxins in several of the Highland Lakes, and coupled with staff seeing algae accumulating in areas of Lady Bird Lake, the city is sending samples to be tested.
Last week, a sample was taken in Lake Austin and was sent for testing as a precaution, the city said. The results are still pending and will be posted on the city’s website once they are known.
Blue-green algae blooms and secretes the toxins, potentially deadly to dogs, in warm, stagnant water that’s rich in nutrients. Brent Bellinger, a senior environmental scientist with the city, said algae usually thrives in warmer times of the year, but with the exception of the winter storm, we’ve had a pretty warm winter.
“Blue-green algae proliferate in warmer times of the year. However, the specific ranges in which they can produce toxins is still under investigation,” he said. “With the exception of the winter storm, we had a fairly warm winter this year, which probably contributed to the toxicity concerns we have seen so far in the Highland Lakes. We will continue to track algae quantity and toxicity through the spring as we get ready for the summer bloom season.”
LCRA found cyanotoxins in 10 different spots of Lake Travis earlier in March, and most recently said they also found the toxins near boat ramps and the shoreline of Inks Lake and Lake Marble Falls.