Harmful algal bloom advisory lifted for Blackwater River arm of Smith Mountain Lake

State officials said recreational activities can now resume in this portion of the lake

FILE PHOTO: Algal bloom at Smith Mountain Lake (Credit: Smith Mountain Lake Marine Fire Rescue) (WSLS)

SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE, Va. – The Virginia Department of Health has provided an update regarding the harmful algal bloom that was discovered on Smith Mountain Lake in early June.

Officials said the harmful algal bloom advisory for the upper Blackwater River arm of Smith Mountain Lake in Franklin County has been lifted.

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10 News has been following this story for quite some time. Back in June, the Virginia Department of Health first issued a Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) Swimming Advisory for the entire Blackwater arm of Smith Mountain Lake. Then in July, VDH lifted the advisory for the lower portion of the river, with the upper portion still under the warning.

Now, the upper inundated areas of the river to its confluence with Gills Creek currently have acceptable levels of algae, according to samples that were collected on July 13 and Aug. 15.

Due to this, normal recreational activities, like swimming, can resume in this portion of the lake.

As a reminder, officials are warning community members to still be cautious by avoiding water that smells, is discolored or where there are dead fish present.

According to the health department, algal blooms can occur when warm water and nutrients combine to make conditions favorable for algal growth. While most algal species are harmless, some can produce irritating compounds or toxins.

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About the Author:

Jazmine Otey joined the 10 News team in February 2021.