DES MOINES, Iowa — There was a record number of statewide beach closures last year due to high levels of microcystin, a toxin produced by blue-green algae blooms.
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is expecting another round of closures this summer, possibly surpassing last year’s record of 25.
Toxic blue-green algae blooms create blue to green murky water, visible surface scum and a foul odor. The blooms can spread across the water, but tend to accumulate in shoreline areas. Contact with the toxin can result in breathing problems, runny eyes and nose, upset stomach, skin reactions and even liver damage. The toxin can be fatal for pets.
Mary Skopec, beach monitoring coordinator for the Iowa DNR, told Iowa Public Radio closures due to algal blooms could happen as soon as next week.
Weekly beach advisories can be found on the DNR’s website.