Blue Green Algae found on Grand Lake in northeast Oklahoma

TULSA - The Grand River Dam Authority will meet Friday afternoon to determine if Grand Lake should be closed due to the increase of Blue Green Algae levels in the lake.

Justin Alberty, GRDA Corporate Communications Director, said in a news release issued Friday morning, "We strongly discourage any body contact with the water at this point."

So what is Blue Green Algae?

According to the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality, BGA are microscopic organisms present in bodies of water. It can reproduce rapidly in the water with adequate amounts of sunlight and nutrients such as phosphorous and nitrogen.

Why you should be concerned about BGA

Any contact with BGA can be harmful. The toxins produced by BGA may cause a variety of reactions, most commonly, upper respiratory problems, eye irritation, vomiting, and diarrhea.

The DEQ suggests you avoid any body contact where BGA is present - which includes swimming, water skiing, boating - and that a physician be called if you or someone you know comes in contact with the algae.

Because children typically weigh less than adults, they are vulnerable to smaller quantities of the toxins which can trigger a more severe effect.

What does BGA look like?

  • Thick pea soup
  • Green paint
  • Bluish, brownish or reddish-green paint
  • On shore, it can form a thick mat on the beach

If animals consume or inhale Blue Green Algae it can lead to severe illness and even death. Contact your veterinarian or emergency animal clinic if your pet has been exposed to BGA.

Source: Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality

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