Blue-Green Algae Closes Lake Skiatook Beach

Thursday, July 28th 2011, 10:54 pm
By: News On 6

Emily Baucum, News On 6

SKIATOOK, Oklahoma – The brutal heat wave is responsible for another bloom of toxic algae popping up at a Green Country lake.

While most of Skiatook Lake is safe for swimming, Twin Points Beach is closed until further notice.

It's a one-two punch for an area that's been slammed this summer.

After a day of swimming with his boys, Bill Young says, "Well, we're mainly out in the middle. Two days ago we were out in a cove and it seemed kind of yucky."

So he wasn't surprised to see this warning go up. It's become the sign of summer.

"As hot as it's been and as low as the water is, there's got to be a lot of stuff growing in the water," Young said.

The Army Corps of Engineers banned swimming at Twin Points Cove -- and even closed the beach to keep families safe.

The algae has been known to make people and pets sick.

Tim Crossman a park ranger at Skiatook Lake said, "I'm sure the public have heard by now at other lakes, Grand Lake being one, where you get a lot of algae, a lot of scum on the surface."

But at Skiatook Lake the algae's lurking beneath the surface.

"The one here tends to be more suspended. It could be suspended right below the surface or a little bit deeper down," Crossman said.

Twin Points is the second swim beach to close at Skiatook Lake this summer. Tall Chief Cove was closed earlier because the lake levels were too low for swimming, and the situation has not improved.

"We have not had the rain to bring the elevations back up," Crossman said.

The water is eight feet below its normal level, leaving the lake parched.

"Around the edges and the coves there are places that are really shallow," Young said. "It's normally not that shallow."

At least one family has left the lake hoping when they return that rain has fallen from the sky and the closed signs have been removed from the beach.

"Within a week it can go from being closed to back open again, so it can change really quickly," Crossman said.

The toxic algae outbreaks also affected Keystone, Eufala and Fort Gibson Lakes. All three have coves or beaches that are closed.