AUSTIN, Texas — Editor's note: The above video was published in August 2022.
The City of Austin said that as of Friday, March 10, blue-green algae is present at Red Bud Isle on Lady Bird Lake and at Jessica Hollis Park on Lake Austin.
The City said the blue-green algae is mixed in with a lot of green algae, and it has not been tested yet. However, residents should assume that the algae may be toxic and avoid it.
A harmful algae bloom occurs when blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) produce toxins. In 2019, Lady Bird Lake experienced a harmful algae bloom that sickened and killed several dogs. There have been harmful algae blooms on Lady Bird Lake every year since then, and the City has also detected harmful algae on Lake Austin.
The City conducts routine algae sampling during the traditional algae growth seasons of summer and fall. It monitors three sites on Lake Austin and three sites on Lady Bird Lake, visiting them every other week during the summer. The City also monitors one site on Lake Walter E. Long, visiting it at least three times during the summer and fall.
While the blue-green algae recently detected at Red Bud Isle and Jessica Hollis Park has not yet been determined to be harmful, the City warns that there is always some level of risk in a natural body of water.
The City said people and pets should avoid drinking water directly from natural water bodies, avoid contact with algae and rinse skin or fur after contact with water. Dog owners should also not allow their dogs to lick their fur prior to rinsing.
People and pets should not enter a natural body of water if the water is warm or stagnant or you see scum, film or algae; there has been a lot of rain in the past three days; or there are a lot of dogs present.
The City also wants to remind the public that people are not allowed to swim in Lady Bird Lake.
Learn more about Austin's previous dealings with toxic algae and the City's efforts to monitor for it.