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‘Keep away:’ Dog-killing toxic algae bloom infests pond at a popular Lake Norman park

Learn how scientists predict the spread of toxic algae blooms

Harmful algal blooms are blooms of species of algae that can have negative impacts on humans, marine and freshwater environments, and coastal economies. An 'Ocean Today' viday explains how scientists can predict the spread of harmful blooms.
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Harmful algal blooms are blooms of species of algae that can have negative impacts on humans, marine and freshwater environments, and coastal economies. An 'Ocean Today' viday explains how scientists can predict the spread of harmful blooms.

A dog-killing toxic blue-green algae emerged recently in a pond at a popular Cornelius park.

“Keep away from the water’s edge for your safety,” town officials warned in an online alert after the algae appeared in the southern pond at Robbins Park, off West Catawba Avenue at Lake Norman.

“Swimming by dogs or people is prohibited,” according to the cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) alert on the town’s website, cornelius.org . “PLEASE KEEP PETS OUT OF THE WATER!”

The pond is behind the park’s tennis courts off Robbins Crescent Drive.

Cyanobacteria “are natural organisms that are present in most lakes,” according to the town’s alert. “Certain conditions can cause cyanobacteria to bloom and release toxins.”

Ingesting or even just contacting the algae “can cause rashes, skin and eye irritation, allergic reactions, gastrointestinal problems or, at high doses, serious illness or even death,” town officials said.

Town workers found the algae on Aug. 8, and a pond company treated the bloom with an EPA-approved product, Observer news partner WBTV reported. Only more rainfall can wipe the algae out entirely, according to the station.

Four dogs in the South died in a matter of days from swimming in lakes with toxic blue-green algae, according to multiple reports, McClatchy Newsgroup reported.

Three dogs died on Aug. 8 after swimming in Wilmington, N.C., according to WECT. A fourth dog died Saturday after swimming in a lake near Marietta, Ga., WXIA reported, according to McClatchy Newsgroup.

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Joe Marusak has been a reporter for The Charlotte Observer since 1989 covering the people, municipalities and major news events of the region, and was a news bureau editor for the paper. He currently reports on breaking news.
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