Manitoba

Hillside Beach now clear of soupy green algae, province says

The province says Hillside Beach is free and clear of algae blooms that turned water and beaches into a soupy green mess last weekend.

Beach on Lake Winnipeg safe for swimming after algae bloom last weekend

Hillside Beach was transformed into a green mess, with thick, sludgy waves washing up on the eastern shore of Lake Winnipeg last weekend. (Bert Savard/CBC)

The province says Hillside Beach is free and clear of algae blooms that turned water and beaches into a soupy green mess last weekend. 

Nicole Armstrong, the director of the province's Water Science and Management Branch, said crews tested the area twice this week for the presence of algal toxins after complaints from beach-goers.

Those complaints prompted the province to advise people to stay away from Hillside Beach as a precaution.

Microcystin, which is sometimes found in blue-green algae blooms, can pose a health risk to humans and animals when concentrated at high levels.

Samples revealed toxin levels were well below the acceptable level, Armstrong said, adding that samples were taken at 18 other beaches on the west and east side of Lake Winnipeg as a precaution.

"We had samplers out at the beaches on Lake Winnipeg a couple of times this week and we haven't seen any other algae blooms on Lake Winnipeg, so that is good news," said Armstrong. 

"But blooms can form quickly and these are really ideal conditions with warm temperatures, both for the air and the water."

Those warm conditions have led to algae formations in several other Manitoba lakes and streams, according to 65-year-old Dauphin resident Brian Neill.

Neill, the owner of White Pelican Kayak Tours, recently cut short an 1,100 kilometre row-boat tour of six lakes and six streams.

He made it about halfway — with his black lab, Sam, in tow — but stopped, in part, due to concerns he had about Sam coming into contact with toxic algae.

"The blue-green algae was starting to set up on the lakes.… Logistically, it was a good time to make a decision to go on or get out at the Narrows," he said.

Swimmers can get the latest information on the state of beaches on the province's website.

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