AUSTIN, Texas - Pet owners are being strongly encouraged to not let their dogs play near or ingest algae in any of the Highland Lakes.
The Texas Highland Lakes are a chain of six fresh water reservoirs in Central Texas formed by dams on the lower Colorado River. The lakes were created to help manage floods, to create hydroelectric generation, and to capture water when it rains to ensure the region has a reliable water supply during dry times, according to LCRA.
On Wednesday, March 23, LCRA received test results from blue-green algae samples taken from five Highland Lakes – lakes Buchanan, Inks, LBJ, Marble Falls, and Travis – on March 16 and 17. The tests detected cyanotoxins, which are emitted by blue-green algae and can be fatal to dogs, in algae samples from Inks Lake, Lake Marble Falls, and Lake Travis, according to the LCRA.
"Blue-green algae are common in Texas lakes, and it is not easy to predict if or when algae will start producing toxins,’’ said John Hofmann, LCRA executive vice president of Water. "Out of an abundance of caution – whether our tests detected toxic algae in the area or not – we encourage people to avoid contact with algae in the lakes, and to especially make sure dogs don’t play in or eat it."
Low concentrations of cyanotoxin were detected in algae taken from the shoreline near the Inks Lake State Park boat ramp in Inks Lake and at the Cottonwood Shores boat ramp in Lake Marble Falls.
The amount detected was significantly lower than what was detected downstream at Hudson Bend in Lake Travis, according to the LCRA. The tests did not detect cyanotoxins in the water at Inks Lake or Lake Marble Falls.
Tests also detected cyanotoxins in algae and water at Travis Landing, an area near Hudson Bend on Lake Travis where cyanotoxins (dihydroanatoxin-a and anatoxin-a) have been detected in two previous tests.