Update on Blue-Green Algae (Cyanobacteria) Found in Lake Wylie

Rusty Rozzelle
Mecklenburg County Seal and Storm Water Services Logo

Mecklenburg County, NC – Active Blue-Green Algae (cyanobacteria) blooms have been found in Boyd’s Cove on Lake Wylie (see map).

Blooms were first observed on August 6, 2021 by staff with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water Services while conducting a field investigation in response to a call from a citizen who observed discolored water in the cove.  Subsequent investigations have revealed cyanobacteria blooms at a total of 11 locations in Boyd’s Cove as shown on the attached map.  Due to the extent of the blooms, staff have designated all of Boyd’s Cove as impacted.  At this time, active cyanobacteria blooms have not been confirmed in any areas of Lake Wylie outside of Boyd’s Cove.

Algae is often observed in lakes and ponds.  Cyanobacteria is a type of algae that is less commonly observed and is of particular concern because it has the ability to produce toxins that may be harmful to humans and pets.  Cyanobacterial blooms usually appear bright green or yellow; however, when a bloom starts to decay, the color can change to a milky blue.  Decaying algae produces a strong, foul odor that can impact a large area. 

The Mecklenburg County Health Department recommends the following steps to safeguard children and pets from any algal bloom:

  • Keep children and pets away from water that appears bright green, blue, discolored or scummy. Do not handle or touch large mats of algae.
  • Avoid handling, cooking or eating dead fish that may be present.  Avoid fishing in the area of the bloom.
  • If you come into contact with an algal bloom, wash thoroughly. 
  • Use clean water to rinse off pets that may have come into contact with an algal bloom.
  • If you or your child appears ill after being in waters containing an algal bloom, seek medical care immediately.  Symptoms include loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, cough, difficulty breathing, sore throat, itchy skin or rash.
  • If your pet appears to stumble, stagger or collapse after being in a pond, lake or river, seek veterinary care immediately.
  • Avoid boating in the area of the bloom.

Staff with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water Services will continue to survey the area to identify the locations of additional cyanobacterial blooms.  The public will be informed if additional locations are identified.  To report a possible cyanobacterial bloom, please contact Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water Services at 311.