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Branched Oak, Pawnee lakes closed to swimming; health alert issued for algae

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Algae testing

Some blue-green algae is present on the east shore of Pawnee Lake on June 13.

Swimming beaches are closed at Branched Oak and Pawnee lakes due to high levels of toxic blue-green algae.

The health alert for Branched Oak Lake was announced Friday. The state has issued a health alert for toxic blue-green algae at Pawnee Lake twice this year.

Samples taken recently at the lakes were above the state’s health alert threshold of 20 parts per billion of total microcystin, a toxin released by certain strains of blue-green algae.

Boating and fishing is permitted, but the public is advised to avoid activities that could involve ingestion of water and to avoid full immersion in water.

Public areas remain open for camping, picnics and other outdoor activities.

Alerts for Kirkman’s Cove in Richardson County and Iron Horse Trail Lake in Pawnee County have ended, according to the news release.

Lakes that are on health alert must have two consecutive weeks of readings below the threshold before alerts are lifted.

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