Public health officials close two beaches - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Public health officials close two beaches


MADISON (WKOW) – Wisconsin has had what some are calling an early summer this year, and WKOW went to find out what effect it is having on our lakes.

Hannah Marshall and Danielle Boushea are happy to get some sun on BB Clarke beach at Lake Monona, but there's no getting them near the water.

"Gross," Boushea said.

"It smells bad. It looks bad," Marshall said.

BB Clarke and Goodland County Park beaches are closed off to swimming because of blue-green algae and it's just the beginning of June.

Our records show, last year it was mid-July when beaches were closed.

"This is more like some of the previous summers when we had heavy blooms," said Kirsti Sorsa, a program manager with Public Health Madison and Dane County.

The unseasonably warm weather may have something to do with it.

Temperatures, light conditions and wind affect where the blooms are and high levels of nutrients like phosphorus or nitrogen really fuel it.

The toxic blooms can cause a number of symptoms.

"There can be rashes, gastrointestinal problems, headaches, muscle problems…" Sorsa said.

She said even if you are tanning near the lake or boating on the lake, you want to keep an eye out for blue-green algae

"When we have had really heavy blooms, people just working on the beach, homeowners, can have asthmatic problems," Sorsa said.

She and her team started testing the water before Memorial Day.

She says algae can come and go unexpectedly, so there's no telling when these beaches will be open. Until then, they'll be clearly marked.

Related Links:

Madison & Dane County Beaches

DNR Great Lakes List

Wisconsin Beaches

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