City says more neurotoxins, algae found around area lakes

Talk 1370 Newsroom
August 15, 2019 - 8:32 am

AUSTIN ( -- City officials say they've found more areas of blue-green algae along Lady Bird Lake with increasing levels of neurotoxins, and say the problem may not go away for a while.

The city says additional samples taken Monday at Auditorium Shores, Red Bud Isle, and at Barton Creek showed greater levels of neurotoxins than in the samples from last week.

Red Bud Isle remains closed to the public. Officials say you shouldn't allow your dog to swim anywhere in Lady Bird Lake; dogs should also stay out of Barton Creek where algae is present. In addition to swimming, dogs should not be allowed to drink the water in these locations.

So far, city officials have not found a safe and effective way to treat or remove the algae. When cooler temperatures return in the fall, the algae will naturally die off; that could mean that Red Bud Isle will remain closed for the next several weeks, officials said.

Officials say boating and paddle-boarding is still allowed, but at your own risk. People should avoid handling the algae and minimize their exposure to the water.

"Barking Springs" at the spillway of Barton Springs Pool is upstream of the affected area. Water at Barking Springs is cold and flows from Barton Springs and Barton Creek. City officials say people and pets can continue to swim there, but avoid going downstream to areas with floating algae.

City officials say previous tests in Barton Creek downstream of the springs appeared to be a mix of harmless green algae; however, Monday's samples showed a low presence of blue-green algae that tested positive for neurotoxins, in the area where Barton Creek enters Lady Bird Lake. Officials say this is a reminder that the situation is evolving and can change rapidly.

Watershed Protection crews will continue to monitor the situation and take additional samples, officials said.

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