DENISON, TX - At the beginning, of February, Grayson County officials made a public announcement that Lake Texoma is open for business and blue-green algae has no record of making anyone sick.
On Wednesday, Grayson County business owners and residents met again to discuss the unknowns of the lake and what steps local health departments are doing about the lake. They say they are taking action to avoid problems this year.
Loose Wheels in Denison was standing room only as three different Chambers of Commerce held a public meeting discussing Lake Texoma.
Blue-green algae has been the center of controversy between the Army Corps of Engineers and local Grayson County officials. Both have been affected by the lack of activity at the lake. That problem is affecting the bottom line for businesses and the Corps.
State Representative Larry Phillips said, "We are going to come together, and we are going to get this resolved, and we are going to get the Corps to work with us."
Grayson County is addressing the problem with the lake head-on. The Health Department has done a study on blue-green algae and the effect it has on people. What they've learned so far is the algae has not been a health issue and no reports of health concerns have been filed.
From now on, the health department will be taking their own samples and be sending them to labs in Texas and Florida to test the toxicity of blue-green algae.
The Corps of Engineers will still be testing the same eight sites around the lake for blue-green algae content, but Corps of Engineer Lake Manager Joe Custer says it's a group effort.
"We are currently working on a memorandum agreement with the Grayson County Health Department to continue different types of analysis on the samples that we are taking."
Limnologist Gil Alexander has been part of the Grayson County study. He is an expert in the study of fresh water ecosystems and says blue-green algae is nothing to fear. It's found in every lake across the country.
"We're going to have blue-green algae. But I don't have any fear of them. I've worked with them for 20 years, I've waded in them. You have to use common sense," Alexander said.
The Corps' next round of blue-green algae testing is scheduled for February 22nd. Good news for the lake, despite the blue-green algae, the Corps said for the first time since June the lake's water level is normal.