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Algae blooms a concern on Wis. lakes

While bacteria-laden, blue-green algae blooms are common on Wisconsin's lakes, they're arriving a bit early this year, just in time for the Fourth of July holiday.

"Normally, we would expect to see blooms starting later in July and persisting through September or October sometimes," said Gina LaLiberte, the Department of Natural Resources' algae coordinator.

She said that this season's warm weather is responsible for the early blooms, which can induce skin rashes, diarrhea and flu-like symptoms.

With strong winds, said the blooms can move across a lake's surface sort of like an iceberg, but they tend to stay toward shorelines. LaLiberte said some blooms present with large, "lily pad"-sized outbreaks and others with a "scum-like" surface.

If adults can't see their feet in knee-deep water, that means trouble, she said. Children and animals are especially susceptible. If someone encounters an algae bloom, they should shower after potential contact.