Elk Island National Park


Issued: June 30, 2023

Ends: November 08, 2023

Parks Canada is advising visitors that blue-green algae is currently present in the waters of Astotin Lake.  Avoid contact with the water in the lake or near the shores of this lake at this time.

Like many lakes in Alberta, Astotin Lake experiences periodic blooms of blue-green algae. Blue-green algae are naturally occurring organisms found in shallow, muddy-bottomed lakes. Some forms of blue-green algae can be toxic if ingested.

Appearing like scum, grass clippings, fuzz, or globs on the surface of water, cyanobacteria can be blue-green, greenish-brown, brown, and/or pinkish-red, and often smell musty or grassy.

Blue-green algae produces a toxin (poison) that can cause serious illness to animals or humans who drink or have skin contact with water containing this toxin.  In some instances, domestic animals such as dogs and cattle have died as a result of ingesting toxin produced by the blue-green algae.  There are, however, no records of human deaths resulting from blue-green algae poisoning.

Symptoms of blue-green algae poisoning in humans may include fever, headache, dizziness, stomach cramps, vomiting, diarrhea, skin and eye irritation, sore throat and swollen lips.  Symptoms seldom persist for more than two or three days.

Individuals should take the following precautions:

1.  DO NOT DRINK WATER from or allow your pets to drink water from Astotin Lake. Boiling of this water will not remove the toxins produced by cyanobacteria.

2.  DO NOT SWIM OR WADE or allow your pets to swim or wade in water containing visible blooms.

3.  AVOID CONTACT with blue-green algae dried on the shorelines.

If you suspect a problem related to blue-green algae or require further information about blue-green algae, please contact Elk Island National Park at 780-922-5790, or Health Link Alberta at 8-1-1.

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