GRAYSON COUNTY, TX-- Business owners at Lake Texoma are breathing a sigh of relief after the latest tests on the water show the level of Blue Green Algae is down. It's now down to an advisory.
Business owners say last year's Blue Green Algae warnings were devastating.
On Labor Day, only six boats entered the water at Highpoint Marina, a time that usually sees more like six every 15 minutes.
Wednesday, Grayson County officials and Lake Texoma business owners came together to send a clear message.
"The lake is open for business!" Judge Drue Bynum said to a packed Grayson County Court House, as business owners from both sides of Lake Texoma, came together to and let the public know the lake is safe again.
Chris Duroy is a Marshall County Commissoner. He says last year's Corps of Engineers warnings scared people from spending time on the lake.
"This last year was a tough year. Let's hope it was an extreme year, and now we can get back to normal and everything can be great," Duroy said.
Now he says, it's important to get the message out that the Lake is safe again.
"We felt that it was important to make sure we did not run into the same situation we were in last year. Which was lack of information, not really knowing what's happening with the lake and not being able to control it," Michael Tucker, with Texoma Destinations, said.
Some business owners felt the Corps' warnings were overblown. They say Blue Green Algae occurs naturally and thrives in waters with little inflow and high temperatures like Lake Texoma experienced last summer.
And they said, not all blue green algae is dangerous.
"The corps of engineers is testing for blue green algae content in lake texoma. There is no correlation between Blue Green Algae and the toxins from Blue Green Algae," Bynum said.
The Corps. said all Blue Green Algae are capable of producing toxins that can irritate the body.. They admit that toxins don't exist in all of the algae.
Paul Balkenbush, an environmentalist with the Army Corps. of Engineers explained what they test for.
"But considering that all blue-green algae can produce a dramto-toxin, that's why we don't necessary test for toxicity. But we do relate it back to the densities that the world health organization considers necessary to our lake."
Now lake business owners hope, sending out a clearer message about what's happening at the lake, will bring people back to the lake and customers back to their businesses.
"Lake Texoma is at the advisory level. People can use their own judgement to look at the risk factors that is associated to blue green algae and determine whether they want to be in the water or not," Balkenbush explained.