Blue-green algae confirmed on Lake Nokomis, Lake of the Isles and Cedar Lake

Blue-green algae, which is toxic to humans and animals, has now been confirmed on three Minneapolis lakes. 

Last week, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board reported the algae bloom on Cedar Lake was likely harmful. Park officials have since confirmed the algae blooms on Cedar Lake as well as Lake Nokomis and Lake of the Isles, are blue-green algae. Blue-green algae, despite its name, can turn lake water murky brown. 

Blue-green algae is a bacteria that is that is normally present in many lakes throughout the state and country. It can produce cyanotoxins, which can make humans and animals sick, particularly if ingested.

According to the Minnesota Department of Health, symptoms of illness from blue green algae can include vomiting, diarrhea, rash, eye irritation, cough, sore throat and headache. Symptoms generally begin several hours up to two days after exposure.  

Park officials are posting warning signs on the shorelines of all three lakes and at connecting channels. 

There is no way to tell if an algae bloom is toxic just by looking at it. To minimize your risk of expsore, MDH advises the following: 

  • Don’t swim if you can’t see your feet in knee-high water
  • If you’ve recently been in contact with an algae bloom, make sure to wash off with fresh water
  • Don’t let dogs drink or swim in the water (dogs are not allowed in Minneapolis lakes per MPRB ordinances) 
  • When in doubt, stay out