Keystone Lake visitors warned of algae blooms
BY JERRY WOFFORD World Staff Writer
Monday, July 11, 2011
7/11/11 at 7:57 AM
See more about
blue-green algae outbreaks
on area lakes.
Despite posted advisories warning of possibly high levels of a toxic algae in Keystone Lake, many people still enjoyed the cool waters on a hot Sunday afternoon.
Boats pulling skiers dotted the lake and families splashed around on beaches a day after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reported large blooms of blue-green algae near Mannford and Cleveland, said corps spokesman Nate Herring.
The advisories are based on biologists' observations of what looks like the algae at the lake. Tests confirming that will be complete this week, Herring said.
"They're tentatively identifying it as blue-green algae that could potentially be harmful," Herring said.
Herring said that there is no official confirmation that the blue-green algae spotted in Keystone Lake is a toxic strain of the algae that can cause nausea, rashes and respiratory illnesses in people and pets.
Blue-green algae is also known as cyanobacteria. Some people refer to it as pond scum. It looks like green paint or scum on top of the water. While it exists naturally in most lakes, it can bloom and sometimes become toxic when conditions are right.
Herring said that when biologists test the water, they look for two things: The amount of blue-green algae in the sample to see if it is higher than normal, and if there are any toxins in the water that would be associated with the algae.
Tests are also pending at Lake Tenkiller, where testing on an algae bloom was under way over the weekend. Herring said both tests will be complete this week. The algae also was found at Grand Lake.
Taylor Ferry swim beach at Fort Gibson Lake was closed because of algae levels that could present "moderate risk" to swimmers.
Brian Tanner said he and his family were going to go to their usual spot on Fort Gibson Lake, but decided not to after hearing reports of the algae outbreak there. Not knowing there were reports of algae in Keystone Lake, they decided to go to Keystone State Park instead.
"It makes me want to go home," he said after learning of the bloom.
Fliers warning lake-goers of the algae were posted at several places throughout the park, including around beaches and some boat ramps.
Herring said those fliers didn't announce beach closures, but are a way to educate people about what has been found elsewhere in the lake and what they should look for.
It's an effort to educate and inform the public, "so they can make decisions based on that and be informed," Herring said.
Sarah Myers was swimming with her family at Keystone Lake and also said she did not see the signs. Despite learning of the advisory, she said she would probably still swim.
"I wish I would have known, but I'm not too worried," Myers said.
However, an employee at Pier 51 Marina at Keystone State Park said business was noticeably slower this Sunday.
Tanner said the water where he was swimming still looked fine, so he would probably get back in. But, if the algae continues to spread, he will have to find other ways to cool down.
"With no rain and all this heat, there won't be any lakes left," Tanner said.
Original Print Headline: Algae warnings don't faze some at Keystone
Jerry Wofford 918-581-8310
Park rangers at Keystone Lake posted signs to warn swimmers that a suspected blue-green algae outbreak was discovered in two areas of the lake. JEREMY CHARLES / for the Tulsa World