Document Type

Capstone Experience

Graduation Date


Degree Name

Master of Public Health


Environmental, Agricultural & Occupational Health

First Committee Member

Matthew Nonnenmann, PhD

Second Committee Member

Kristina Kintziger, PhD

Third Committee Member

David Schumacher, NDEE


Harmful algae blooms (HAB) are becoming more of a human health concern. Humans are exposed to harmful algae blooms from freshwater bodies used for recreational activities. The presence of harmful algae blooms has been increasing across the United States. Aerosol, dermal, and ingestion routes of exposure are ways humans can develop an illness when around a HAB. Environmental exposure to humans above 8 ppb per liter of surface water can cause mild to severe symptoms and, in rare cases, may be fatal. Exposure can be acute or chronic. The Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy (NDEE) has implemented a monitoring program to alert the public of the presence of a HAB. We collected and analyzed samples from seven freshwater surface bodies of water for analysis as a part of the annual monitoring program. The sample sites showed 22% above the reportable level of <(RL 0.15) ppb. This indicates the presence of microcystin within acceptable levels. Our results indicated that the seven lakes we tested were below the guideline of 8 ppb. However, other lakes across the state were issued a health alert by NDEE for the same testing period.

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