Statewide Blue Green Algae Toxins 2011-2012


This project supports the issue of Blue Green Algae Toxins in Wisconsin Waters. We currently lack information about the frequency and spatial extent of toxic blue-green algae blooms and conditions that lead to the production of toxins. In addition the Department of Health Services (DHS) has obtained a 5 year grant to gather information and document illnesses and deaths of animals and humans into a CDC database. There are 2 years remaining on their grant. This project would support their activities and allow our field staff to target 1 to 4 lakes in their region that have a history of blue green blooms, so we can learn more about when toxins exist at levels that may impact people and/or animals, before or as these incidents occur.


1. Analyze up to 30 - 120 water samples around the state in response to reports of potential toxic algae blooms on undocumented waters for the presence of Blue Green Algae species and subsequent toxin anlaysis if warranted with a rapid assessment tool. The screening lab analysis will be conducted by a seasonal LTE Staff Member or Field Staff and the toxin samples taken and sent to the State Lab based on an approve of DHS. 2. Hold and distribute as needed DHS test kits for Blue Green Algae incidents of animals or human suspected exposure. 3. Replace as needed up to 6 sets of Field Tests and 6 standards kits for Microcystin LR Toxins one for each DNR Region and one for Science Services for ongoing evaluation of usefulness as a rapid assessment tool. 4. Begin tracking waterbodies with cylindrospermopsis and HAB toxin or cell counts above WHO guidelines.


Continue program to enhance the DNR staff's knowledge of when toxins exist, relative to other field measurements of water quality. This will help improve our prediction of when toxins may exist in the lakes.Document of up to 5 - 30 new lakes statewide for the presence/absence of Blue Green Algae species with toxins and cylindrospermopsis. Assist the Department of Health Services with their project to track and document Illnesses and deaths of animals and humans due to exposure to algae toxins.Submit statewide end of year monitoring data to SWIMS and report on Blue Green Algae toxin kits evaluation and lake studies to supervisors and Bureau Staff.To begin in 2012 - begin tracking occurrences of HAB's and cylindospermopsis in a statewide GIS framework.

Related Reports

Run Project Summary Report
View Umbrella-Projects
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Targeted Monitoring
Competitive Project
Reports and Documents
Presentation to public health officials from Vilas, Oneida, Iron, Florence, and Forest County Public Health Departments
Presentation at 2013 Wisconsin Public Health Association Annual Convention
Presentation at 2013 Wisconsin Lakes Convention
Presentation made at 2013 Red Cedar Watershed Conference
This article, in the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts, and Letters' Wisconsin People and Ideas magazine, provides background information about the causes and potential hazards of algal blooms.
Summary of HAB taxa occurrrence in 2011 samples, cell densities in 2011 samples, and 2011 sample algae counts
This is a pdf version of the blue-green algae presentation which was given at the Natural Resources Board meeting on September 28, 2011.
This DNR Weekly News article was released in order to inform waterfowl hunters of ways to minimize their dogs' risk of exposure to blue-green algae.
This DNR Weekly News Article was released to alert the public to the possibility of encountering blue-green algal blooms on Wisconsin lakes. The article includes a Department of Health Services map which depicts human and animal illnesses, with associated algal toxin levels, from DHS-DNR blue-green algae sampling efforts in 2009-2010.
This is the background information packet which was provided to the Natural Resources Board in advance of the September 28, 2011 informational item on blue-green algae in Wisconsin.