(Katharine Jose/Austonia)

Update 7/10 6:58:

The Austin Watershed Protection Department said in a statement that there is now some preliminary concern about algae found at Red Bud Isle last week, though so far results are not definitive.


UT's laboratory "noted the presence, albeit low, of a cyanobacteria species of concern from the sample collected at Red Bud Isle," the statement says. "The species is undergoing further molecular identification, and toxin results are still forth coming."

The department is urging caution: "Conditions can change rapidly at a site. While we wait for test results, people should take extra care at Red Bud Isle."

Original post:

As the summer heats up, bringing with it ripe conditions for a harmful algae bloom, Austin officials said they have started tested local waterways and shared recommendations for how residents can keep their pets safe when going swimming.

Last year, at least five dogs were killed by a deadly blue-green algae bloom in Lady Bird Lake.

With help from UT researchers, the city took water and algae samples Thursday, according to a Friday press release, and should have the first updates about water quality next week.

Samples came from:

  • Red Bud Isle
  • Vic Mathias Shores
  • Festival Beach

Another area, the mouth of Barton Creek, is also being monitored, but the city "did not observe any concerning algae," according to the press release.

Results from these samples will be listed on AustinTexas.gov/algae.

The website also lists symptoms to watch out for in pets after swimming, and asks that residents report their pets getting sick to 311.

Anyone who wants to take their dog swimming in Lady Bird Lake should avoid warm, stagnant water and areas with floating mats of algae, according to the city. Owners should also rinse their dogs after swimming in the lake.

If the city or UT researchers detect potentially harmful algae, updated guidance for keeping dogs safe, including any bans on dogs swimming in the lake, will be posted on that website.

(Photo courtesy of Marisela Maddox)

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