St. Marys residents are down a swimming hole.
Concerns over blue-green algae forced the Upper Thames River Conservation Authority (UTRCA) to close the beach at the Wildwood Conservation Area Tuesday.
According to officials, there is a "substantial" amount of the algae along the shore of the reservoir, including in the swimming area. As conditions are unlikely to improve, and potentially worsen due to the extreme heat, the decision was made to cut Wildwood's operating season short.
Signs have been posted advising of the beach's closure. The conservation authority has also notified the local health unit about the algae.
Blue-green algae, also called Cyanobacteria, are microscopic, plant-like organisms commonly found in lakes, ponds, and other bodies of water. Typically the algae is not visible, but when populations increase rapidly it forms a large mass or bloom. Blue-green algae thrive in areas where the water is shallow, slow moving and warm. They can produce toxins that are harmful to people and animals.
Anyone who happens across a blue-green algae bloom should assume toxins are present, avoid contact with it and restrict pet and livestock access to the water.