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Warm weather may bring more algal blooms, health officials warn

green algal bloom in Lake Erie
NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory
Harmful algal bloom in Western Lake Erie from 2018

Health officials have identified a suspected harmful algal bloom on Peach Lake in Ogemaw County.

Testing is still ongoing at the lake, and residents advised to avoid the water - but warmer weather may bring more algal blooms.

Scott Izzo is an epidemiologist and the community health director for District Health Department No. 2. He said cyanobacteria thrive in warm weather, so people should be aware of algal blooms this summer and exercise caution in the water.

“There is more of a clear and present danger from the algal blooms because they are creating toxins," Izzo said. "Those toxins can cause serious health problems and death in the short term if they're ingested.”

Izzo recommends people follow their local health departments on social media to be notified of potential harmful algal blooms in their areas.

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) monitors reports of algal blooms. To learn more about or report algal blooms, visit EGLE's webpage on harmful algal blooms.

Teresa Homsi is an environmental reporter and Report for America Corps Member based in northern Michigan for WCMU. She covers rural environmental issues, focused on contamination, conservation, and climate change.