Field Notes

May 25, 2021

One simple way to keep your family safe at the lake

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Maximize your time in the lake this summer by signing up for weekly blue-green algae toxin updates!

From June to August, generously funded by the K21 Health Foundation, the Lilly Center research team will conduct sampling on 14 lakes and seven beaches throughout the Kosciusko County. Water samples will be processed for microcystin, a toxin produced by blue-green algae, in the Lilly Center’s lab.

“When ingested or left on your skin for too long, microcystin becomes a health concern for those living on or visiting the lakes,” said Jed Harvey, research technician at the Lilly Center. “It’s known to cause issues for dogs and other pets. It can also have negative effects on humans, including liver damage.” Harvey will oversee water sample testing to ensure the results’ accuracy.

In 2020, there was a drop in microcystin in the 14 local lakes the Lilly Center samples.

The average of all microcystin samples taken in 2020 was almost half of 2018 and 2019’s averages. Although great news, this change is not yet a positive trend. “The Lilly Center will continue researching to determine what led to this sudden dip,” said Dr. Nate Bosch, director of the Lilly Center. “And if it will stay that way in 2021 and beyond. We’ll also help determine how county residents might permanently reduce toxin levels in the future.”

The weekly microcystin updates will enable you to make the best decisions for your friends and families. Sign up today! If you spot a blue-green algae bloom or something similar that you cannot identify, email the Lilly Center at with pictures, date and location of the bloom. A team member will follow up with you.

What is blue-green algae, anyway?

For starters, it’s actually not algae – it’s a type of bacteria!

Learn more