Red Bud Isle will reopen to the public on November 22, 2019 at noon. Austin Parks and Recreation Department (PARD) made the decision after City scientists did not find any visible signs of floating blue-green algae mats in the vicinity of Red Bud Isle. Water samples taken on November 12 showed no toxins. The scientific name for blue-green algae is cyanobacteria. When cyanobacteria produces toxins, it is called a harmful algal bloom.
Dog owners who choose to allow their dogs in Lady Bird Lake should be aware that another harmful algal bloom may occur at any time in any part of the lake. The risk is highest when the weather is hot and dry for an extended period. Caution signs have been posted at locations where blue-green algae was identified, warning pet owners about the risk.
PARD closed Red Bud Isle on August 7, 2019, due to the presence of a harmful algal bloom on Lady Bird Lake. The closure coincided with the reporting of dogs who died after swimming in Lady Bird Lake. The Watershed Protection Department (WPD) detected neurotoxins in various algae samples taken from three locations on the lake from August to October. The abundance of algae on the lake has varied over the past four months, peaking in August with a second, lower peak in October. On November 12, there was no visible blue-green algae mats.
During the outbreak, the neurotoxin was only detected in the algae and not in the water itself. People have been able to recreate on the lake during this outbreak. People have not been allowed to swim in Lady Bird Lake since 1964 (Ordinance 640611-C). Dog owners should be aware that all natural bodies of water pose a level of risk. Allowing dogs to swim in Lady Bird Lake, is done at the owners own risk.
For more on the status of blue-green algae blooms, symptoms of exposure, and other information, visit austintexas.gov/algae.
For media inquiries on the science of the blue-green algae, call WPD at 512-974-1450.
For media inquiries on the status of Red Bud Isle, call PARD at 512-974-6723.
Communications and Public Information Office
301 W. 2nd Street, Austin, TX 78701