The Environmental Health Section of the North Dakota Department of Health is warning people to avoid blue algae in the following area lakes.  Including two very popular lakes close to Bismarck Mandan.  There's a Blue-green Algae Advisory for Harmon Lake & Sweet Briar Lake in Morton County, Larson Lake in Hettinger County, Braddock Dam in Emmons County, Lake Tschida in Grant County, Froelich Dam in Sioux County, Rice Lake in Ward County, (A very popular and highly developed lake) Bowman-Haley Dam in Bowman County and Coal Mine Lake in Sheridan County.

According to an article on KFYR-TV hot Summer weather is a major contributor to the outbreak of blue-green algae that is also known as cyanobacteria.  People or animals who ingest the water that has been affected can get very sick and even die.  What's worse is there is no antibiotic or antidote for toxins blue-green algae can make.  Swimming or other water sports in the affected waters should be avoided.  Look for water that has a very bad or foul odor and discolored or scummy water that has a green or blue thick scum on it.

So what causes blue green algae blooms?  According to an article on the Ontario website a key factor is available nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen.  Agriculture practices near affected lakes can cause blue-green algae, along with storm water runoff and leaking from septic systems.

I had a friend a few years ago who was playing fetch with his dog at Stump Lake after a fishing trip.  The next day the dog became very sick and nearly died.  Dog's are very susceptible to the toxins while swimming as they tend to swallow a lot of water.