This photo, of blue-green algae in Grand Lake St. Mary’s in Ohio during the summer of 2010, was supplied by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources .
This photo, of blue-green algae in Grand Lake St. Mary’s in Ohio during the summer of 2010, was supplied by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources .
Blue-green algae was found in Hill and Diamond lakes in the southern part of Kosciusko County last week. 
Hill Lake drains into Diamond Lake which drains into Yellow Creek Lake.  Hill Lake experienced an intense algal bloom which gave the water a red appearance for at least two weeks while Diamond Lake experienced a similar bloom for at least one week.
There was some thought that the bloom would spread to Yellow Creek Lake as well, but it does not seem to have done so.  Kosciusko Lakes and Streams sampled these 3 lakes during a field sampling the week of May 16 and found only Hill Lake to have an obvious algal bloom at that time. 
Rod Edgel an Indiana Department of Natural Resources Biologist, took a water sample on May 25 on Diamond Lake and described the lake as having the same reddish coloration.
Lab analysis of the Diamond Lake sample by the Center for Earth and Environmental Science at Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis showed a large population of a specific species of blue-green algae which is known to produce algal toxins.
The three lakes were sampled Tuesday and it was found the algal blooms no longer visually apparent, but the samples were still sent in for analysis. Those results are not yet available.
These results will indicate potential health threats related to toxins that the algae may be producing.  
When temperatures climb and the summer sun beats down, conditions are ripe for lakes to produce harmful algae blooms, some of which can be harmful to pets and humans.  Harmful algal blooms are blue-green algal blooms containing toxins or other noxious chemicals, which can pose harmful health risks.
Why is this a concern? People or animals may develop skin irritation or upper respiratory problems from exposure to HAB, and in extreme cases, dogs and other animals have even died after drinking lake water containing these toxins.
Severe blue-green algal blooms typically occur on lakes with poor water quality (high in nutrients like phosphorus and nitrogen), and look like green paint, pea soup, or a thick green cake. HAB often result in extremely low water clarity (less than 1 foot).  When these conditions are present, people should avoid contact with the water and they should prevent animals from swimming in or drinking the water. Scientists do not yet know what causes some blooms to produce toxins while others do not, so the safest course of action is to avoid contact with all blue-green blooms.
To protect yourself from harmful algae blooms, follow the tips that the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has developed:
– Do not swim in water that looks like "pea soup", green or blue paint, or that has a scum layer or puffy blobs floating on the surface.
– Do not boat, water ski, etc. over such water (people can be exposed through inhalation).
– Do not let children play with scum layers, even from shore.
– Do not let pets or livestock swim in, or drink, waters experiencing blue-green algae blooms.
– Do not treat surface waters that are experiencing blue-green algae blooms with any herbicide or algaecide-- toxins are released into the water when blue-green algae cells die.
– Always take a shower after coming into contact with any surface water (whether or not a blue-green algae bloom appears to be present; surface waters may contain other species of potentially harmful bacteria and viruses).
How can we prevent future harmful blue-green algae blooms?  The list below, developed by the Wisconsin DNR gives a few ways that you can help keep yourself and others safe by limiting some of the causes of algae growth.
– Maintain native vegetation along shorelines as buffer areas
– Minimize activities that result in erosion
– Reduce the amount of fertilizer used on lawns
– Use only phosphorus-free fertilizer when possible
– Fix leaking septic systems
– Use only phosphorus-free detergents in dishwashing machines