AUSTIN (KXAN) – The City of Austin’s Watershed Protection Department said its scientists saw blue-green algae, which might be toxic, Friday at Red Bud Isle on Lady Bird Lake and Jessica Hollis Park on Lake Austin. The algae, however, has yet to be tested, according to the city.

The department wasn’t the only one to notice the algae. Austinites like Ricardo Castro said his family noticed it popping up earlier than expected.

“We thought, ‘Oh, this used to be later, around mid-August or even later,'” Castro said.

Dr. Brent Bellinger with the Watershed Protection Department said that is because of weather conditions.

“It’s been a pretty warm winter. We’re still in a pretty good drought right now. You know, so we haven’t gotten the same types of flushes or other things that may have helped to reset the system,” Bellinger said.

Because of that, the department might expand its routine monitoring for algae. Right now it starts in June and lasts through the Fall.

“Maybe do a year-round for a year, see what that looks like,” Bellinger said.

Toxic algae can be lethal for dogs. Symptoms include stumbling and unsteady walking, foaming at the mouth, excessive drooling and muscle twitches.

The Watershed Protection Department has a page for updates and information about harmful algae.

“We encourage visitors of our waterways to treat all algae as though it may be toxic and to avoid areas where algae is seen or water is warm and stagnant. There is always a risk associated with any natural body of water, so it is important to rinse off thoroughly after swimming in our waterways,” the department said.