Harmful algae detected on South Manistique Lake

By Journal Staff

CURTIS — Algal blooms suspected to be blue-green algae have been detected on South Manistique Lake, the Luce-Mackinac-Alger-Schoolcraft District Health Department announced.

LMAS indicated that the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services notified it of the blooms, also known as cyanobacteria or harmful algal blooms. The blooms were detected near the north and south shore of South Manistique Lake and Shoepac Bay on the west shore in Mackinac County.

Samples will be sent to the MDHHS laboratory for testing.

LMAS recommends residents and visitors to the lake to avoid water-related activities and keep pets from drinking or going into the lake where the blooms are visible until sampling for testing is complete or the blooms break up. Advisory signs have been posted around the lake.

People and pets can experience these symptoms after exposure to these algal blooms:

≤ rash, hives or skin blisters at the skin contact site;

≤ runny eyes and/or nose, sore throat, asthma-like symptoms or allergic reactions;

≤ diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, weakness, tingly fingers or numbness; and

≤ dizziness, difficulty breathing or even death resulting from ingesting contaminated water.

If you think you have been exposed to algal blooms, LMAS urged individuals to immediately remove themselves or their pets from the area, and take a shower and thoroughly rinse off pets with clean, fresh water if they swam in area with algal blooms to avoid potential toxic ingestion from licking their fur.

Anyone who suspects they or or their pets have been exposed to the blooms should seek medical and/or veterinary treatment as soon as possible.

LMAS said algal blooms are a normal part of the lake and pond cycle, but harmful blooms need sunlight, show-moving water and nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus. Nutrient pollution from activities worsens the problem, leading to more severe and more frequent blooms.

People can help reduce nutrient pollution by choosing phosphate-free detergents, soaps and household cleaners. When walking their pets, they can pick up after them to keep their waste away from bodies of water. They can inspect their septic systems annually to ensure proper function, and use nontoxic, phosphate-free soaps when washing vehicles and watercraft. They also should be washed on grass or gravel to filter the runoff before it enters a lake or stream.

People are encouraged to report suspicious-looking algae to the Michigan Department of the Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy by calling the Environmental Assistance Center at 800-662-9278. Contact LMAS at 906-298-5107, or visit LMASDHD.org or its Facebook page, for more information.

For more information on HABs, contact MDHHS at 800-648-6942. For more information on HABs and pets or livestock, call the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development at 800-292-3939.


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