Prospect Lake reopened for recreational use Wednesday for the first time in nearly three months, after levels of a toxin associated with blue-green algae dropped to safe levels.
Boaters, paddleboarders and other outdoor enthusiasts can once again return to the popular lake east of downtown Colorado Springs, said Erik Rodriguez, an environmental health and safety specialist for the city.
Amounts of microcystin — a toxic produced by cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae — recently fell below levels considered dangerous by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Tests results needed to stay below those levels for at least two weeks for recreation users to use the lake.
The algae levels can explode during sustained hot weather, stagnant water, and polluted stormwater runoff.
But a recent run of colder weather — particularly at night — helped bring algae levels under control, Rodriguez said.
Still, that doesn’t mean the algae may not return when temperatures rise next summer, Rodriguez said. He added that the federal Environmental Protection Agency is working on solutions to help cities across the nation affected by such algae blooms.
“We’re looking at sustainable options so that hopefully this isn’t a problem in the future,” Rodriguez said. “We’re going to be monitoring next year, to see if we’re going to get into the same situation.”