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Windsor Lake closed after positive test for blue-green algae

Until further notice, swimming, bathing and pets are not allowed on the lake, along with location changes and shifted dates for upcoming events.

WINDSOR, Colo — The Windsor Lake beach and dog park are closed until further notice after testing positive for cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae, the city said in a news release Friday.

Windsor said they've locked up the lake and dog park and roped off the beach, given health concerns over the blue-green algae. At this time, swimming, bathing and pets are not allowed. 

This also applies to rental and concessions, except annual permitted motorized and non-motorized boaters, to help agitate the water. 

Water activities such as tubing and water skiing are not allowed, and all boaters are permitted to use their passes at their own risk, but staying out of the water is highly recommended, said Windsor. 

> Keep up with the closure here, or on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

Last week, our team took precautions and issued an advisory to our community in addition to publishing messages across our communication platforms,” said Kendra Martin, Parks, Recreation & Culture operations and facilities manager. “With the results returning positive for blue-green algae, staff immediately closed access to the swim areas at the lake and are actively working to keep our community aware.”

Aside from the closure, events scheduled for the following weeks have been either moved to other dates or just shifted locations. Windsor provides the following guidance on planned events at the park during the closure: 

All water activities for the Pack the Park and Lake, scheduled for Thursday, July 29, in celebration of Parks and Recreation Month, have shifted to Pack the Park, eliminating events at the lake and replacing them with a twilight swim at Chimney Park Pool at 421 Chimney Park Dr, on July 28 from 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Originally, the celebration intended to waive rental fees to the town’s aquatic rentals offered at Windsor Lake; instead, the admission fee to Chimney Park Pool will be waived, for one evening only, to accommodate the shift.

Residents are encouraged to come out to Boardwalk Park on Thursday, July 29, from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. to enjoy food trucks, view the competition between cornhole leagues, and watch a live concert beginning at 6:30 p.m. At 6 p.m., winners of the social media campaign #OurParksAndRecreationStory will be randomly selected and announced.

“We will slightly shift festivities by eliminating all water activities on the lake and host a free twilight swim at Chimney Park Pool the night before and continue with plans to celebrate Parks and Recreation Month at Boardwalk Park Thursday, July 29 from 5:30 pm – 8:30 p.m.,” said Martin. “We are in a situation where weather plays a partial role in how quickly algae clears from our lake; until then, we will provide our residents alternative safe recreational opportunities for all ages and abilities to continue enjoying what we offer here in Windsor.”

While the lake is closed, Windsor advises their residents to enjoy things like the Tom Jones Trail, a 2.5-mile trail around Windsor Lake, the volleyball court, catch and release fishing, the playground, Boardwalk Park Museum, and the park in general. Additional swim options include the Community Recreation Center (CRC), Chimney Park Pool, and Eastman Park River Experience.

The CRC’s swim options include a pool with three lap lanes, a hot tub, a lazy river and a water slide.

The city of Windsor provides information on how harmful algae come about and spread:

What are harmful algae? 

Blue-green algae, which are not really algae, but a type of bacteria, are common in lakes throughout Colorado. The algae multiply rapidly—and are impacted by a combination of unusually sustained hot weather, stagnant water and stormwater runoff that includes nutrient pollution from fertilizers—to form blooms and scums.  

What contributes to blue-green algae growth? 

Polluted stormwater runoff can have adverse effects on plants, fish, animals and people. Too much nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus in the water is known as nutrient pollution and can cause algae to grow faster than ecosystems can handle. Significant increases in algae harm water quality and food resources and decrease the oxygen for aquatic life. Add sustained hot temperatures, and conditions exist for this type of algae to thrive.    

RELATED: Sloan's Lake is closed because of a bacteria that could be toxic to pets

RELATED: Toxic blue-green algae found at Sloan's Lake

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