Charlotte-area lake sees poisonous blue-green algae spread

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Toxic algae has infested a third cove on Lake Wylie, where a long-standing yacht club that runs sailing and rowing programs is based, county officials said.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg stormwater staff on Thursday spotted an active blue-green algae bloom in an unnamed cove near the Catawba Nautical Club, according to a county of Mecklenburg Press release.

Staff also discovered active flowers in Boyd’s Coves and Snug Harbor on Thursday.

Frightening cyanobacteria blooms, or blue-green algae, have been reported in Boyds Cove since early August and Snug Harbor since mid-September, The Charlotte Observer previously reported.

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Toxic blue-green algae is spreading like the Blob on Lake Wylie, with a third creek now infected, reports Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water Services. Catawba Yacht Club is located on the last infested cove.

The yacht club is located south of the Buster Boyd Bridge on the lake side in North Carolina, approximately 20 miles from the city of Charlotte.

Club officials did not respond to Facebook and emails from The Charlotte Observer on Saturday.

The private, non-profit club was founded in 1939 to provide its members with family-oriented boating and mooring facilities, according to its website, Catawbayc.org. The club offers sailing and rowing programs.

Don’t touch the algae

If you come across the algae, don’t touch it, county officials have warned.

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This is an example of a pond covered in toxic blue-green algae in Charlotte, North Carolina Toxic blue-green algae continues to bloom in a creek in Lake Wylie, Mecklenburg County officials warned on Thursday, September 16. 2012. Charlotte Observer archive photo

And never touch, cook or eat dead fish found near the algae, officials said.

If you touch any of the flowers, wash your hands thoroughly with clean water, the county advised. Also rinse animals that have been in contact with the algae with clean water.

See a doctor immediately if your child was in the water and got sick, county officials said. Watch for symptoms in your child such as “loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, cough, difficulty breathing, sore throat, itchy skin or rash,” according to the county press release.

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Joe Marusak has been a reporter for The Charlotte Observer since 1989, covering the region’s population, municipalities and major current events, and was the editor of the newspaper’s press office. He is currently reporting the latest news.


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