Blue-green algae confirmed at Cedar Lake

Cedar Lake
News Reporter

The U.S. Forest Service has closed swim beaches and the boat ramp at Cedar Lake southwest of Hodgen until further notice.  The temporary closure is the result of a blue-green algae bloom. Overnight camping areas will remain open.

The Forest Service has posted signs to alert visitors that swimming and boating activities are temporarily halted until the algae bloom has dissipated.

“As soon as we confirmed the presence of blue-green Algae at Cedar Lake, we began the process of closing the swim beach and warning visitors,” said District Ranger Michelle Caviness.  “For now, the most important thing to remember is that as long as you avoid the affected water, the blue-green algae does not pose a health risk to Cedar Lake visitors.”

If you come in contact with affected water, wash your hands with clean water from another source thoroughly and quickly, and wear rubber gloves if you must reach into the water. If you have been exposed to blue-green algae and exhibit health issues, consult a health care professional for the best course of treatment. This includes veterinary care for domestic animals. Children and animals are the most susceptible to illness and skin irritations when exposed to toxic algae.”

Blue-green algae is a bacteria found naturally in most freshwater lakes and ponds. It can reproduce rapidly when nutrient-rich water bodies warm during summer months. Within the span of a few days, a clear lake or pond can become cloudy or deep green with algae growth. This is called a bloom.  

The bacteria that causes blue-green algae may be spread from lake to lake by boaters, prompting the closure of the boat ramp. Algae require the right conditions to bloom, and the condition will resolve naturally. Some evidence point to prolonged and extreme heat as important factors in the occurrence of algae blooms.

Caviness says the Forest Service will monitor the algae and reopen the lake when it is safe to do so.  Experts say the timeframe for closure could be a few days to a few weeks.

For more information on the status of recreation at Cedar Lake, call the Hochatown office at (580) 494-6402, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.