Blue-green algae prompts red alert

WIANGAREE Lagoon has been placed on red alert after an outbreak of the potentially toxic blue-green algae.

A 10-metre wide bloom of the non-toxic red azolla algae has also appeared skirting Lismore Lake in recent weeks.

It normally only appears in winter.

North Coast Regional Algal Co-ordinating Committee spokesman Brian Dodd said the lagoon was placed on amber alert last month but recent testing by Kyogle Council found elevated levels of the blue-green algae, forcing the alert to be upgraded.

“Residents and visitors should avoid all contact with the algal bloom and ensure animals are kept away,” Mr Dodd said.

Blue-green algae can cause skin rashes, asthma and eye and ear irritations if contacted and diarrhoea and other health problems if digested.

Kyogle Council has erected signs warning visitors using the popular picnic facilities at Bean Tree Park to stay away from the lagoon.

“The RACC will continue monitoring this blue-green algal bloom and will advise the community when conditions change,” Mr Dodd said.

A Lismore City Council spokesperson said while the outbreak of blue-green algal blooms at the lake only usually occurred in winter, this outbreak was probably the result of high nutrient levels.



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