University of Texas researchers will test Lady Bird Lake algae for harmful toxins

The city of Austin has sent three samples of algae from Lady Bird Lake to The University of Texas to test them for toxins. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
The city of Austin has sent three samples of algae from Lady Bird Lake to The University of Texas to test them for toxins. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)

The city of Austin has sent three samples of algae from Lady Bird Lake to The University of Texas to test them for toxins. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)

Last year, a toxic algae bloom in Lady Bird Lake killed five dogs and led to the closure of popular off-leash dog area Red Bud Aisle from August to November.

Hot, dry weather creates an environment that allows the algae to grow, according to researchers, so this summer, city staff are taking samples of algae and sending it off to University of Texas researchers to test for the harmful toxins.


The city took samples from Red Bud Isle, Auditorium Shores and Festival Beach, according to a media release. Staff are also monitoring the mouth of Barton Creek, but the city said it has not seen any algae at that location as of July 10.

UT researchers will be testing the samples, and initial results should be available the week of July 13, according to the release. The city will be monitoring the four locations weekly.

The city is recommending dog owners use caution when taking their dogs in Lady Bird Lake by avoiding areas with floating mats of algae, rinsing dogs after they swim in the water and checking the city website for the latest information. People are not allowed to swim in the lake but can still boat and fish using precautions to avoid the spread of COVID-19.
By Jack Flagler
Jack is the editor of Community Impact Newspaper's Central Austin and Southwest Austin editions. He began his career as a sports reporter in Massachusetts and North Carolina before moving to Austin in 2018. He grew up in Maine and graduated from Boston University, but prefers tacos al pastor to lobster rolls. You can get in touch at jflagler@communityimpact.com


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