The Maine Department of Environmental Protection has confirmed the presence of an algae bloom on Damariscotta Lake that could become potentially dangerous to humans and pets.

But the DEP says there doesn’t seem to be enough cyanobacteria in the lake to create toxic conditions at this time, according to a news release posted on the Midcoast Conservancy website. Presence of the cyanobacteria was confirmed Aug. 10.

Cyanobacteria blooms can appear as green smears on a lake or can simply turn the water green. The Maine DEP determined that current conditions do not appear toxic, but the state recommends that people avoid areas with heavy accumulations of algae. Children and pets should also avoid these areas and showers are recommended after swimming.

Record high air and water temperatures this summer combined with excess nutrients likely created ideal conditions for the algae and cyanobacteria growth, the DEP said.

Anyone living on the south arm of the lake who has a drinking water intake is being advised to purchase bottled water for drinking.

Earlier this summer, South Portland closed two ponds in popular Hinckley Park after the Maine DEP detected toxic cyanobacteria algae blooms in Hinckley Pond and Old Ice Pond.

Damariscotta Lake is home to Damariscotta Lake State park, is about 12 miles long and covers about 4,600 acres in Lincoln County. Its shoreline extends into the towns of Jefferson, Nobleboro and Newcastle. It is a popular lake for kayaking, canoeing, fishing, sailing, swimming and camping.

The Midcoast Conservancy is an environmental organization formed in 2019 to protect the Sheepscot and Medomak rivers as well as Damariscotta Lake. Midcoast Conservancy said it plans to work with the DEP to monitor conditions on the lake.

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